Brake claims that a new survey it has published today (21 March) shows there is “overwhelming public support” for tougher charges and penalties for drivers who kill and injure.
The charity says this would “provide desperately needed justice for victim families, and deter risky driving”.
In the survey of 1,000 drivers, four out of five respondents (82%) said they think sentences should be higher for “drivers who kill”. The majority also think drivers who cause death while drink or drug driving (85%), speeding (66%) or on their phone (64%) should get five years or more in prison. And 95% of respondents said penalties should be tougher for “killer drivers who flee the scene”.
Brake says that currently only six out of 10 people (62%) convicted of killing someone through risky driving are jailed, and only 9% are sentenced to five years or more in prison.
Brake is calling for “bold action” including revising charges for causing death and serious injury, so drivers are not “let off” on a lesser careless driving charges.
The charity is also calling for much stiffer penalties for hit and run and disqualified drivers who cause death, and stronger sentencing guidelines for judges so maximum sentences are handed out in the most serious cases.
Brake is urging members of the public to write to their MP in support of its Crackdown campaign.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "We want the Government to acknowledge how inadequate current charges and penalties are and take action to prevent traumatised families suffering further insult.
“Denying justice to victim families often has a terrible impact on their ability to rebuild and move forward with their lives. Brake bears witness to the consequences for these vulnerable families every day through its support services for bereaved and injured crash victims.
“Our justice system should make clear that risky, illegal behaviour on roads is no accident: it’s selfish, destructive, and unacceptable.
“Our report shows huge public support for this campaign, and in Parliament MPs are mobilising for action across the political parties.
“We’re calling for the Government to listen to the bereaved families courageously speaking up on this issue, and seize the opportunity to fix this long-running issue."