Two-thirds of drivers want to see increased maximum sentences for those causing death by dangerous driving, according to the RAC.
On the day a Private Members’ Bill to do just that is scheduled to have its second reading in Parliament, research carried out with 2,800 drivers found that a quarter (25%) believe maximum sentences should be increased to somewhere between 15 years and a life sentence, from the present maximum of 14 years.
But four-in-10 (40%) think courts should be able to go further and hand down a life sentence if they deem it appropriate. Just 16% felt the current maximum term is sufficient, while 18% were unsure whether it should be changed.
In July former Prime Minister and Home Secretary Theresa May introduced a Bill seeking to amend The Road Traffic Offenders Act, which currently dates from 1988, and to increase courts’ abilities to issue much tougher sentences. The amendment has come to be known as the ‘Violet-Grace Law’, in memory of a four-year-old child who was killed by a motorist driving at over 80mph in a 30mph zone in 2017. The driver was jailed for nine years and four months in 2017 but may be released as early as next year.
In the year to March 2020, police forces in England and Wales recorded 555 cases of death or serious injury caused by dangerous driving.** While this was seven fewer cases than a year earlier, the general trend since 2008 has been for an increase in cases across both countries.
Scheduled today is the second reading of Theresa May MP’s ‘Death by Dangerous Driving (Sentencing) Bill 2019-21’, which may be debated in the House of Commons. To track the progress of the Bill, visit the Parliament.uk website.