Drivers Who Kill Could Receive Life Sentences Under New Laws

Drivers Who Kill Could Receive Life Sentences Under New Laws

Drivers who kill could receive life sentences under new laws introduced by the government.

The new laws mean that judges can give out life prison sentences for dangerous driving offences where someone has been killed, as well as for careless drivers who kill while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It means that the maximum penalty increases from 14 years to life in prison, with the changes to the rules coming about because of the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.

What Does The New Legislation Mean For Drivers?

The new legislation further increases the level of penalty for dangerous driving offences – that includes the creation of an offence for causing serious injury by careless driving.

This new specific law means that anyone who causes permanent or long-term injuries or health problems will face tougher sentences.

The new laws have been mooted for some time and they were actually first announced in 2017 –  but they’re now in effect.

Crucially, the laws WILL take effect in England, Scotland and Wales, but not in Northern Ireland, which operates separate road safety laws.

Drivers should already be aware of the severe consequences of dangerous driving in all forms, but the new legislation reinforces the tough stance that the government has taken on all forms of serious driving offences.

Road Safety Concerns

Road safety concerns have been a key part of changes to the Highway Code in recent months, including:

  • New rules on mobile phone use while driving
  • Risk-based hierarchy rules
  • Direct vision standards

The most important change for 2022 is the introduction of a ‘risk-based hierarchy’, which will give priority to vulnerable road users.

This follows safety concerns about mobile phone use while driving, road users other than those in vehicles, and who is given priority on the roads.

And while you might have been forgiven for thinking that mobile phone use while driving was already illegal – that wasn’t quite the case…

When the laws around mobile phone use were first introduced, phones were used almost exclusively for text messaging and making phone calls.

Over the last 20 years, our use of mobile phones and handheld digital devices has evolved to include an extensive array of activities. So, stricter rules on mobile phone use have been introduced, and include:

  • Selecting a song on your playlist
  • Playing games on your phone, even when stopped at a red light
  • It will be an offence to take photos and videos

Importantly, if you have your phone on a hands-free device, you WILL still be allowed to use it for directions – this was a hot topic of debate in the run-up to the new rules being announced.

The new laws on dangerous driving don’t affect cases where the Crown Prosecution Service wishes to charge people with murder or manslaughter if there’s evidence that a vehicle was used as a weapon to inflict serious injury or to kill.

What do you think of the new laws on drivers who kill and cause serious injury due to dangerous and careless driving? Let us know in the comments below.