Thousands of people have had their say on plans to introduce life sentences for killer drivers.
The consultation, which opened on 5 December 2016, attracted over 1,000 replies in just 3 days, reaching more than 9,000 when it closed yesterday (1 February 2017).
The overwhelming response is one of the highest for a Ministry of Justice (MOJ) consultation, and included contributions from victims, bereaved families, road safety groups and charities.
Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said:
Killer drivers ruin lives. While we can never compensate for the loss of a loved one, we are clear that the punishment must fit the crime.
So I would like to thank the thousands who have contributed to this consultation. We will now carefully consider each of these and will set out our plans as soon as possible.
The consultation sought views on whether the current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased.
The proposals included:
- increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life
- increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life
- creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a maximum sentence of 3 years
- increasing minimum driving bans for those convicted of causing death.
The plans build on the government’s pledge to consider sentencing powers available to the courts for the most serious driving offences. The government will consider the responses and set out its plans in the coming months.
Notes to editors
- The UK has one of the best road safety records in the world – but deaths and serious injuries cause devastation to victims and their families.
- The consultation looked at the most serious road offences. It did not cover other driving or regulatory offences such as speeding, the setting of drink drive limits, the basic offences of careless or dangerous driving and driving whilst using a mobile phone.
- This follows further action in 2015, when the government increased the maximum custodial sentence for causing death whilst driving when disqualified from 2 to 10 years. A new offence of causing serious injury when driving whilst disqualified was also created, with a maximum penalty of 4 years imprisonment. It also brought into force the statutory requirement to extend a driving ban to take account of any time spent in custody.
- Sentencing remains a matter for independent judges, with decisions made based on the full facts of the case.
- For more information call the MOJ press office on 020 3334 3503 or 020 3334 3529.