IAM RoadSmart says the results of a new survey show that road users want the law to be ‘far stricter’ on those who cause death and serious injury when driving.
In the survey, published yesterday (8 Feb) by the road safety charity, 80% of the 2,000 respondents agreed there should be a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.
56% of those who agreed said the maximum penalty should be between one and five years in prison; 44% went further, saying it should be more than five years.
Almost 50% of respondents to the IAM RoadSmart survey also felt the current maximum penalty of 14 years in jail for causing death by dangerous driving ‘wasn’t nearly high enough’.
In December, the Ministry of Justice announced a consultation on proposals to increase penalties for drivers who kill while driving dangerously, carelessly or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The proposals out for consultation, which ran until 1 February, include the option of a life sentence for these offences. Drivers who cause death by speeding, street racing or while on a mobile phone would face the same sentences as those charged with manslaughter.
Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: “Our survey shows that on the very emotive issue of those who cause death by driving offences, there is public support for tougher sentencing and that many feel the law simply doesn’t go far enough.
“Holding a driving licence should be considered a privilege, not a right – and those that fail dangerously to reach the highest standards should have that right taken away.
“It is very clear that in the minds of many of the UK public, the punishment often does not fit the crime – and British people think the law should reflect that in a far more fitting and appropriate way."
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