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No jail for killer drivers

Published: 01 February 2007

Careless drivers who kill could still escape jail despite new laws designed to toughen sentencing. 

The Government’s Sentencing Advisory Panel has recommended that a new jail sentence for causing death by careless driving should only applied where “aggravating factors” such as using a mobile phone are involved. 

Careless drivers who kill through “momentary inattention” should escape with community service, it said. 

Under existing laws there is no such offence as causing death by careless driving. 

Careless drivers who kill can only be charged with the offence of careless driving and often escape with fines and points as a result.

A new offence of causing death by careless driving under the Road Safety Act 2006 carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail. 

The Sentencing Advisory Panel said it recognised Parliament’s intention in creating the new offence was “that the level of the sentence for careless driving should be given some uplift when death is caused.” 

But it also said there was also a need to “reflect the degree of culpability”.

The recommendations were made in a public consultation paper, which means it’s not too late for you to make your views known. 

See the consultation document here: http://www.sentencing-guidelines.gov.uk/docs/Cons-2007-01-09.pdf (external site)

Email your comments to sentencing-guidelines@gsi.gov.uk

See next week’s MCN, available from Wednesday, February 7, 2007 for a more in depth investigation into the recommendations. 

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