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Killer drivers to get life sentences under ‘long overdue’ reforms

Life sentences for killer drivers will finally be introduced to parliament next year; a near four-year wait after a previous pledge from the Ministry of Justice.

Ministry of Justice

The switch to life sentences for killer drivers was first pledged in October 2017

It means someone found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving – or careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs – now faces a maximum penalty of a life sentence instead of the current 14 years.

Although the move was first announced in October 2017, it will be unveiled by the Lord Chancellor this week as part of major sentencing reforms in a white paper.

The measures around driving also include plans to create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving. Currently, this would likely come under careless driving, which is subject to a fine and points, graded under three categories.

While Brake welcomed the move – it’s long advocated for an overhaul of UK road law to deliver justice for victims and to help keep roads free from dangerous drivers – the road safety charity slammed the years wasted since the move was first pledged.

Director of campaigns Joshua Harris said: “Crash victims have waited three long years for this announcement. Road crime is real crime and it is high time that the Government, and the law, recognised this.

“Years of Government inaction have added to the suffering of road victims who have not been delivered the justice they, and their loved ones, deserve. The Government must now implement these tougher sentences as first priority, delivering on their overdue promise to road crash victims, and then urgently initiate a review of the flawed legal framework for road justice.

“Driving is a privilege not a right and yet our flawed legal system continues to allow convicted dangerous drivers on the roads where they can endanger others. We all want safer roads but we will only achieve this if the law treats road crime with the seriousness it deserves.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.