Proposed changes to Dangerous Driving Law could Send Offenders to Prison for Life

Dangerous drivers could face harsher sentences as a new bill by former Prime Minister Theresa May makes it way through the Commons. The bill proposes to make changes to dangerous driving laws. The changes will increase courts freedom to issue tougher sentences for those who have committed serious motoring offences.

The updates could see some offenders issued life sentences to stop them walking clear after just years.

Drivers who kill others after speeding, racing, or using a phone, could receive life sentences under new legislation.

Serious dangerous driving accident

Those who cause death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs could also get a life sentence.

It comes after police forces have revealed that 555 drivers were killed or seriously injured in England and Wales through dangerous driving in the year to March.

Changes to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 will be known as “Violet Grace Law” in memory of a four-year-old child who was killed in a shocking dangerous driving incident.

The child was struck by a vehicle driving dangerously at over 80mph in a 30mph speed zone just three years ago.

However, the driver was jailed for just nine years and four months, meaning the offender could be released just next year.

The sentencing reforms will likely be introduced in Parliament early next year.

A new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving is also being proposed.

Currently, without that specific offence, drivers who cause injuries under such circumstances can only be convicted of careless driving – which has the maximum penalty of a fine.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said the proposed changes for tougher sentences would send a “strong message” to offenders.

He said: “While Britain might have some of the safest roads in Europe, it is a 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.

The new driving proposals were backed by two-thirds of road users in a massive RAC survey.

The poll revealed that a quarter of road users believe maximum sentences should be increased from the current 14 year maximum.

A massive 40 percent revealed that courts should be able to hand out a life sentence if they believe this is appropriate.

The Government pledged in 2017 to change the law to impose tougher penalties on the worst offenders.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said:

“This government has been clear that punishments must fit the crime, but too often families tell us this isn’t the case with killer drivers.

“So, today I am announcing that we will bring forward legislation early next year to introduce life sentences for dangerous drivers who kill on our roads, and ensure they feel the full force of the law.”

Any increase will apply to offences in England, Scotland, and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, which has separate road safety laws.

Call 0330 33 22 770 any time to speak to a specialist motoring law Solicitor if you require advice or assistance with any driving offence.

Using a mobile phone whilst driving – proposed changes to the law

Under proposed changes to the law, motorists are to be banned from any use of a mobile phone whilst driving.

It is currently illegal to make calls and send text messages, but a potential loophole still exists for drivers to take photographs, videos, or use music apps while driving.

The current wording of the law bans using a handheld device for “interactive communication” as app-laden phones did not exist in 2003 when the law was originally introduced.

woman holding a mobile phone whilst driving

The Department of Transport is proposing a change to the law which will ban all handheld use of a mobile phone while driving. The law will still allow handsfree use, for example using a mobile phone in a holder as a sat nav. However, drivers who type in destinations while on the move could still be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

The statistics for using a mobile phone whilst driving

The RAC state that there have been 2263 crashes caused by drivers using a mobile phone between 2013 and 2017. There were 33 fatal crashes in 2017 due to mobile phone use at the wheel. 25% of people admitted to talking on a handheld phone while driving in 2018. 40% said they checked texts or social media when in traffic in 2018.

Last year, crashes where using a mobile phone whilst driving was a contributory factor caused 637 casualties, including 18 deaths and 135 serious injuries.

The proposal is expected to be passed into law early 2021 following a 12-week public consultation which will end in January 2021.

While it will be illegal to pick up your mobile whilst driving, there is likely to be an exemption when using your mobile phone for contactless purchases, for example at drive-throughs, provided the vehicle is stationary.

Minister for Roads, Baroness Vere, said: “Our roads are some of the safest in the world, but we want to make sure they’re safer still by bringing the law into the 21st Century. That’s why we’re looking to strengthen the law to make using a hand-held phone while driving illegal in a wider range of circumstances. It’s distracting and dangerous and far too long risky drivers have been able to escape punishment, but this update will mean those doing the wrong thing will face the full force of the law”

Motoring organisation the AA welcomed the tighter legislation. Jack Cousens, head of roads policy, said: “Drivers should be focused on the road ahead and not the tweet or email that has just pinged to their phone.”

The intended changes will apply through the whole of the UK. Any driver caught using a hand-held device for any purpose will receive the current fixed penalty sentence of a £200 fine and six penalty points. on their driving licence

Be aware that should you reach 12-points on your licence you would be totting up, leading to a 6-month ban. Should you find yourself in this position, please do contact Ashworth Motoring Law on our 24/7 motoring law helpline on 0330 33 22 770 for FREE initial legal advice. We can save your driving licence and keep you on the road.

Successful appeal leads to driving ban being overturned

Our latest satisfied client came to us after receiving a twelve month disqualification from driving with a requirement to take an extended re-test for an offence of careless driving. She was unrepresented at the hearing and was sentenced in absence.

When we heard of her plight, we immediately knew that something had to be done.

After lodging an appeal against the sentence on the basis that it was manifestly excessive, we are happy to confirm that our client’s sentence has been significantly reduced. Her twelve month driving disqualification has been replaced by five penalty points on her driving licence.

Here’s what she had to say:

“I was given a driving ban so I got in touch with Ashworth Motoring Law who took on my case to appeal against the ban and won. The people were friendly and put you at ease with how they explained everything. In my opinion, nothing could be improved. I would recommend to others.”

Mrs Tully

thumbs up ashworth motoring law

If you’ve been disqualified from driving and want your ban to be overturned, call our local rate 24/7 motoring law helpline on 0330 33 22 770. You will speak to a specialist motoring law solicitor who can advise you on your case, and give you the best chance of getting your licence back.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Motoring Lawyers open over the bank holiday weekend

The August bank holiday is almost upon us. Whilst we hope that you have a nice, relaxing weekend, our specialist motoring law solicitors will be on call day and night, including bank holiday Monday should you need our assistance.

If, over the August bank holiday weekend you need a…….

Drink Driving Solicitor

Drug Driving Solicitor

Drunk in Charge Solicitor

Failure to Provide a Specimen Solicitor

Totting up Solicitor

New Driver – Licence Revocation

Speeding Solicitor

Careless Driving Solicitor

Dangerous Driving Solicitor

Failure to Stop and Report an Accident Solicitor

Driving with no Insurance Solicitor

Mobile phone offence Solicitor

Guilty Plea and Mitigation Solicitor

….. feel free to call our free motoring law legal advice line on 0330 33 22 770.  Your call will be answered by one of our expert motoring lawyers who will support you, advise you on the law and guide you to the best possible outcome in your case. In most cases, a ban or even conviction can be avoided.

If you want to know whether your case is one of the many that can be defended, or need to speak to a specialist motoring law solicitor about avoiding a driving ban, then call 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk.

Don’t spend the bank holiday weekend with the worry of a motoring offence hanging over you. Call one of our specialist motoring law solicitors today.

shutterstock_216526417

Can you play Pokemon Go whilst driving?

It’s less than one week since Pokemon Go went live in the UK, and it’s already causing havoc on our roads.

There’ve been reports of gamers walking into the middle of roads to catch Pokemon, motorways clogged due to drivers abandoning their cars to play Pokemon battles, and now people are now attempting to catch Pokemon whilst driving.

Whilst we’re sure you don’t need an expert in motoring law to tell you that this is clearly illegal, here are some of the potential consequences you’d face if caught doing this by the police.

  • 3 points and a fine for using a mobile telephone, or tablet, or any other form of interactive communication device used to play the game whilst driving.
  • 3 – 9 Penalty points or a ban for careless or inconsiderate driving if playing the game causes your standard of driving to fall below that which is expected of a competent driver or if you failed to show reasonable consideration for other pedestrians or vehicles.
  • A minimum 12 month disqualification from driving and possible prison sentence for dangerous driving if your standard of driving falls far below the standard expected of a competent driver; and It would be obvious to a competent driver that the manner of your driving would be dangerous. We think that any competent driver would conclude that playing Pokemon whilst driving would be dangerous!

The above legal consequences are of course nothing in comparison to the very real physical dangers that doing something so distracting whilst behind the wheel of a car would present to you and other motorists and pedestrians using the road.

Know someone who needs to see this information? Please share and spread the word!

Article written by Expert Motoring Lawyer, Alison Ashworth; Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law Ltd.

The specialist Driving Offence Solicitors at Ashworth Motoring Law are experts in defending all types of Motoring Offence. From totting up, using a mobile phone whilst driving to drug driving, our Specialist Motoring Lawyers can help. If you have been charged with Driving Offence and would like to speak to a specialist Motoring Law solicitor about your case, call 0330 33 22 770 for free initial advice or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk.

Pokemon Go whilst driving

Motoring Lawyers open over the bank holiday weekend

Another bank holiday is thankfully upon us. Whilst we hope that you have a nice, relaxing weekend, our specialist motoring law solicitors will be on call day and night, including bank holiday Monday should you need our assistance.

If, over the bank holiday weekend you need a…….

Drink Driving Solicitor
Drug Driving Solicitor
Drunk in Charge Solicitor
Failure to Provide a Specimen Solicitor
Totting up Solicitor
New Driver – Licence Revocation
Speeding Solicitor
Careless Driving Solicitor
Dangerous Driving Solicitor
Failure to Stop and Report an Accident Solicitor
Driving with no Insurance Solicitor
Mobile phone offence Solicitor
Guilty Plea and Mitigation Solicitor

….. feel free to call our free motoring law legal advice line on 0330 33 22 770.  Your call will be answered by one of our expert motoring lawyers who will support you, advise you on the law and guide you to the best possible outcome in your case. In most cases, a ban or even conviction can be avoided.

If you want to know whether your case is one of the many that can be defended, or need to speak to a specialist motoring law solicitor about avoiding a driving ban, then call 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk.

 

Don’t spend the bank holiday weekend with the worry of a motoring offence hanging over you. Call one of our specialist motoring law solicitors today.

 

shutterstock_216526417

 

 

How to drive on snow

Driving on snow can be very dangerous, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

We’ve put together some tips for best practice when driving on snow to give you the best chance of reaching your destination safely.

Pre-journey check list for driving on snow:

  • Check your tyres.

Do they have adequate tread? You need at least 2mm but ideally 3mm for driving on snow.  If your tyre tread is below 1.6mm then your tyres are illegal and need to be replaced. It’s 3 penalty points per tyre if you fail to meet the basic legal standard.  Don’t be tempted to reduce your tyre pressure for more grip; doing this will only reduce stability.

  • Check your wipers.

Turn any automatic wiper function off before turning the engine on. The wiper control fuse could blow if the wipers are frozen to the screen

  • Check you’ve got everything you need.

Warm clothes, de-icer, ice scraper, de-mister, a shovel, a torch, phone charger, and if possible, a square of old carpet for under your wheels for traction if you get stuck in the snow.  This is your basic back-up kit for driving on snow.

  • Check you can see properly before setting off.

Fully clear the windscreen and mirrors before setting off. Use lukewarm water or de-icer. Never use boiling water! It can crack the windscreen. It’s 3 penalty points on your driving licence for not being in proper control of your vehicle if you have an obstructed view of the road ahead.

  • Check others can see you before setting off.

Clear excess snow off the top of your vehicle, lights and number plates before setting off. You could get 3-9 penalty points for careless or inconsiderate driving if the snow falls into the path of another road user during your journey.

How to drive on snow

 

Setting off:

  • Use second gear to pull away. Ease your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel spin.
  • Accelerate gently, using low revs.
  • Change up to a higher gear as soon as possible

On the road:

  • Leave plenty of room (ten times the usual distance) between your vehicle and the car in front. The car in front might skid and you need to be able to avoid it.
  • Avoid roads which you know are unlikely to have been gritted.
  • Be cautious of driving in other vehicle’s tracks if the road hasn’t been gritted. The snow could be more compressed and therefore icier than fresh snow.
  • Try to wait until any steep hills are clear of moving traffic before you attempt it.
  • Keep a constant speed if possible.
  • Try to use a lower gear to slow down and avoid using the brakes if you can.
  • If you have to use the brakes, apply them very gently.
  • If you skid, steer gently into it. Never take your hands off the steering wheel and don’t be tempted to hit the brakes hard. This will make things worse. If the rear of the car is sliding to the left, steer gently to the left. If It’s sliding to the right, steer gently to the right.

If you get stuck in the snow:

  • Straighten the steering.
  • Clear as much snow as possible from the wheels.
  • Try and put something in front of the wheels for grip.
  • Don’t stop until you’re on firmer ground.

If all of the above looks like too much hassle, and your journey really isn’t that important then pop the fire on, grab a cup of tea and declare it a snow day. Nothing is more important than your safety.

Hot chocolate snow day
Article written by Expert Motoring Law Solicitor Alison Ashworth; Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law.

Alison Ashworth; Expert motoring lawyer and Director of www.ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk

Found this information useful? Share it with a friend!

Ashworth Motoring Law are experts in defending driving offences such as careless driving, speeding and drink driving. If you have been accused of committing a motoring offence and would like to speak to a specialist motoring law solicitor, call our free advice line on 0330 33 22 770 for free initial legal advice. Lines are open round the clock so get in touch whenever’s best for you.

How to Drive on Snow, Ashworth Motoring Law tells you how to drive on snowAshworth Motoring Law Logo