Brake has renewed its calls for tougher charges and penalties for drivers who kill and injure, following the publication of Government criminal justice figures for 2013.
Brake says the figures show the “large proportion of drivers who kill and seriously injure being let off with relatively low penalties”. The charity says the figures “reinforce the importance” of a forthcoming review of charges and penalties, recently announced by Government.
In 2013, 438 drivers were convicted of causing death or bodily harm, 55% of whom were given immediate prison sentences, up very slightly from 54% in 2012. 14% were given more than five years in prison, up from 10% in 2012.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "These figures come as a reminder that sentences for drivers who kill and seriously injure do not reflect the atrocious suffering of victim families, many of whom feel deeply let down by the justice system.
“While the slight increase in higher-level sentences is encouraging, it does not go nearly far enough. We still see drivers who have killed through their risky actions being inappropriately charged with causing death by ‘careless driving’ and receiving low sentences as a result – one of the key issues that must be addressed in the forthcoming Government review.
“We also need to see fines for more common driving offences that pose a danger, like speeding and mobile phone use, rise dramatically to provide an effective deterrent."
Brake points out that in 2013, the average fine for driving offences was £214, compared with £1,000 for not having a TV licence.