Killer drivers may face life in prison

Dangerous drivers who kill are set to face life sentences, under plans put forward by the Government.

Dangerous drivers causing death by speeding, street racing or while on a mobile phone are among those now facing the same sentences as those charged with manslaughter. Offenders who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs could also be handed life sentences – an increase on the current 14-year upper limit.

New plans come as ministers seek to deter dangerous, criminal behaviour on our roads, and make sure killer drivers face the toughest penalties. Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Killer drivers ruin lives. Their actions cause immeasurable pain to families, who must endure tragic, unnecessary losses.

“While impossible to compensate for the death of a loved one, we are determined to make sure the punishment fits the crime. My message is clear – if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads, you could face a life sentence.”

A consultation seeks views on whether the current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased. It is hoped the measures will see custodial sentences for causing death by careless or dangerous driving increase – from an average of 45.8 months in 2015.

The Department for Transport is separately introducing legislation increasing the penalties for using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving from 3 to 6 penalty points and from £100 to £200 when a driver is issued with a fixed penalty. The consultation runs until 1 February 2017.
Sentencing remains a matter for independent judges, with decisions made based on the full facts of the case.

The consultation (, which runs until 1 February 2017, has been published.

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