Government Considering An Overhaul To Dangerous Driving Laws


The Law Of... changing the law on dangerous driving

Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested that the laws on sentencing for dangerous driving could be reviewed, after it has been claimed that current rules are too lenient.

Theresa May suggests changes could be made to dangerous driving laws

Describing her experience of dealing with injury claims that involve a dangerous driver, Rose Gibson – Partner in Complex Personal Injury at Simpson Millar LLP – explains how current laws are not fit for purpose.

Justice Department Looking Into Sentencing

Responding to a question at Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May claimed that the Justice Department were looking into laws on dangerous driving.

The question came after a 10-year-old child and his aunt were killed by a dangerous driver who was fleeing police in London last week. As a result of the high-profile incident, campaign groups have re-iterated their assertions that sentencing for dangerous driving is too lenient.

Under current legislation, the minimum sentence for death by dangerous driving is 1 year, while those who cause an injury – no matter how serious or life-changing – can only serve a maximum of 2 years.

The maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving is 14 years.

In some cases motorists can be charged with death by careless driving, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.

Justice For Joseph Campaign

MPs and campaigners have been calling for a change in sentencing rules for dangerous drivers for years, with a high-profile campaign for road safety charity Brake hitting the headlines early this year.

Brake's Justice for Joseph campaign focused on the case of Joseph Brown-Lartey, who was killed when a dangerous drive caused a high speed collision. After pleading guilty to the charges, the dangerous driver was sentenced to 6 years for causing death by dangerous driving.

Responding to May's admission that a review of dangerous driving laws could be published, former Attorney General Dominic Grieve argued that the law is adequate as it stands.

Explaining the civil serious injury cases relating to dangerous driving that she deals with, Rose said:

"I can often find myself in the difficult situation of having to explain flawed legislation to the loved ones of those killed or seriously injured by a dangerous driver. Shockingly, I have to explain that a case based on negligence could be easier than the protracted pain of criminal proceedings, which can often end with them feeling hurt by the dangerous driver receiving a lenient sentence."

"Road traffic collisions can cause an untold amount of damage; even those that survive a crash could suffer life changing injuries that can have a serious impact on a victim's quality of life."

"For those seriously injured by a dangerous driver the deep physical and psychological damage may never be undone; amazingly in instances such as this the driver can only receive a maximum of 2 years in prison."

"It is clear that the government need to take some action on this divisive topic and I hope that any new legislation considers the effect injuries, whether these are fatal or not, can have on the friends and families of those involved."

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