Over the previous 12 months, 157 people were convicted and sentenced for causing deathby dangerous driving, and a further 31 for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Currently those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs face a maximum custodial sentence of up to 14 years, however in many instances much more lenient sentences are passed.
One such instance was the driver of a vehicle who hit and killed a 21 year old on a night out. The driver was sentenced to a custodial sentence of 4 years and was released after serving only 2 years of that sentence.
Following a consultation on driving offences, which cause death or serious injury, 70% of responses backed extending the maximum penalty to life imprisonment. Dominic Rabb, the Justice Minister has confirmed that new sentences will be introduced.
Causing death by dangerous driving or careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs or whilst using a mobile phone, will now carry a risk of life imprisonment. This will result in drivers who cause death receiving sentences that are akin to those passed for offences of manslaughter.
Following the introduction of an offence in 2012, of causing serious injury by dangerous driving (carrying a maximum sentence of 5 years), the government plans to introduce a further new offence of causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate driving, which will also carry a custodial sentence.