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.
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:
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.