Drunk Drivers Who Kill To Face Life Sentences
Dangerous drivers who kill someone through the most careless kinds of driving will now face life behind bars.
Crimes worthy of the top-level of punishment will include causing death by dangerous driving, or death by careless driving while drunk or on drugs.
Announcing the change, justice minister Dominic Raab said: "Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims' families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs."
The Ministry of Justice has also said that jail terms in cases involving mobile phones, speeding or street racing will now be the equivalent of manslaughter to 'fill a gap in the law' and 'reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case'.
The measures were confirmed in a government response to a consultation which will be published tomorrow. The increase will apply to offences in England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, which has separate road safety laws.
It follows criticism that sentences for those convicted over road deaths were too lenient.
Responding to the announcement, Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Today's announcement is a major victory for the families of victims and charities, including Brake, who have tirelessly campaigned for punishments which better fit road crimes that kill and seriously injure people.
"We applaud the Government for at last recognising that the statute books have been weighed against thousands of families who have had their lives torn apart through the actions of drivers who have flagrantly broken the law."
Credit: PA Images
In 2016, 157 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, with a further 32 convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence.
However, Barrister Matthew Scott claimed the change would not increase road safety describing it as 'crowd pleasing gesture'.
He told BBC Radio 5 live: "Bad though it is and wrong though it is, taking out a mobile phone while driving without any intention to cause death, I don't consider that is the sort of behaviour that could possibly justify a life sentence."
Featured Image Credit: PA