Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, is looking to propose harsher jail sentences to those who seriously injure others through dangerous driving. A maximum jail term of 5 years could be given under the new offence of ‘causing serious injury by dangerous driving’ and judges would be able to deal out tougher punishments to those who devastate families as a result of dangerous driving.
This proposal has been welcomed by various groups. Andrew Howard, Head of Road Safety at the AA said, ‘’Dangerous drivers who do so wilfully choose to take risks and should face the consequences of their actions.’
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning echoed that by saying how action was already being taken to tackle drink and drug driving and also to catch uninsured drivers, this proposal would then mean that people can be properly punished by the courts for causing devastation to families. He said, ‘The vast majority of motorists are safe and responsible but the wilfully reckless minority who put lives in danger must face serious penalties.’
Ellen Booth, Brake Senior Campaigns Officer said that Brake was continually seeing the devastation caused to victims’ families by dangerous drivers and welcomes anything to help tackle the problem of dangerous driving.
‘This new offence finally means that serious injury is recognised within the title of the offence, and this recognition is vitally important to victims and their families. It also means that dangerous drivers who inflict serious injuries can expect to see higher sentences to better reflect the terrible trauma and injuries they have caused.’
The number of road deaths in the UK is still high. 1,850 road deaths occurred in 2010. If a person causes death by dangerous driving the maximum jail sentence is 14 years. The Department for Transport published its Strategic Framework for Road Safety earlier this year, setting out the Government’s plans to improve road safety education and enforcement.
Ignition Driving School (www.driving-lesson.co.uk) supports the proposals also. Kelly Foote, Managing Director of Ignition Driving School said in relation to the proposals, ‘imposing a higher penalty for causing serious injury by dangerous driving might mean people think a bit more about the way they drive. Injuries sustained from dangerous driving can change a victim’s and their family’s life for the long term and the penalties for causing such devastation need to account for that.’