New tougher sentences for drivers who kill

The Government is set to introduce the option of a life sentence for drivers who cause death as a result of speeding, using a mobile phone or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The current maximum sentence for each offence is 14 years – but the Government says punishments “must fit the crime”.

The sentencing reforms, which will be formally announced this week, will also propose introducing the new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.

At present, drivers who cause injuries under such circumstances can only be convicted of careless driving – which has the maximum penalty of a fine.

The new legislation will apply to offences in England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, which has separate road safety laws. It will be introduced in Parliament early next year.

Robert Buckland, justice secretary, said: “This Government has been clear that punishments must fit the crime, but too often families tell us this isn’t the case with killer drivers.

“So, today I am announcing that we will bring forward legislation early next year to introduce life sentences for dangerous drivers who kill on our roads, and ensure they feel the full force of the law.”


Specifically, the reform includes plans to:

  • Increase the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life
  • Increase the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life
  • Create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving

15 September 2020

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