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New law in England and Wales: causing death by dangerous driving can lead to life imprisonment

View profile for Cecilia Frodsham
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New law in England and Wales: causing death by dangerous driving can lead to life imprisonment

We hear frequent news reports of people being killed by dangerous driving. There have been many cases where parents are left coping with the heartbreaking loss of their child; children who have lost a parent or other family members and all because of a drivers reckless actions.

It is the family who suffer the most. The family who have always received the longer sentence. Very often their pain is compounded by the fact that it is the driver – the offender – who escapes with a relatively light sentence. The Department for Transport figures indicate that while three in five killers are sentenced to imprisonment, the average sentence is four years. Four years for a life.

Bereaved families have campaigned tirelessly for changes in the law which this week has seen MPs make the decision to proceed with a major extension of sentences. Indeed ministers have confirmed that dangerous drivers who cause death by using a mobile phone or speeding will face life in prison. The change follows a public consultation in December 2016 which generated 9000 responses. Of the responses, 70% supported increasing the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving to life. This could mean that these drivers could face the same sentence as those convicted of manslaughter.

The road safety charity “Brake” has described this change as a “major victory” for victims.

There was a case earlier in the year which resulted in a family being torn apart by the tragic loss of their daughter caused by the dangerous actions of a motorist. As a result of this the dangerous driver was sentenced to nine years in prison.

This change in sentencing will lead to more appropriate sentences for death by dangerous driving and will provide families with the justice they so rightly deserve.

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