Two thirds of drivers back tougher sentences for death by dangerous driving

The majority of motorists back tougher prison sentences for those who cause death by dangerous driving, a new survey suggests.

Oct 16, 2020
By Tony Thompson

A poll conducted by the RAC found that two thirds (65 per cent) of motorists want to see those that cause death by dangerous driving given a sentence lasting more than 14 years.

Some 40 per cent of drivers believe courts should have the power to hand out life sentences for the crime, while 25 per cent consider a sentence between 15 years and life to be more suitable.

Just 16 per cent felt the current maximum term of 14 years was sufficient, while 18 per cent were unsure whether the punishment should change.

A Private Members’ Bill urging politicians to extend the maximum sentence will be read in Parliament for the second time today (October 16).

It follows former Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to introduce the ‘Violet-Grace Law’ with a Bill made in memory of a four-year-old child who was killed by a motorist driving at over 80mph in a 30mph zone. The offender was jailed for nine years and four months in 2017 but may be released as early as next year.

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “Drivers we surveyed are crystal clear in their belief that the current maximum sentence that courts can hand down for causing death by dangerous driving is insufficient and doesn’t reflect just how devastating these crimes are.”

Police forces in England and Wales recorded 555 deaths and serious injuries because of dangerous driving in the year to March 2020.

Mr Williams added: “While Britain might have some of the safest roads in Europe, it is an horrendous thought that each year more than 500 drivers in England and Wales are convicted of killing others as a result of their decision to drive dangerously.

“Permitting courts to issue much tougher sentences will send a strong message to motorists and will go some way towards reassuring families of victims killed in collisions that the law is on their side.”

“This Bill is so important – we may still be some way off the Violet-Grace amendment being made, but many people up and down the country will be interested to see the progress that it makes in the hope that one day soon those convicted of these truly terrible crimes will have to spend much longer behind bars.”

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