I welcome Government proposals to increase prison sentences for drivers who cause death by dangerous driving or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The plans suggest the same should apply for causing death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone and it is proposed that the current 14 year maximum should be increased to life, making it equivalent to manslaughter, which in reality is what it is.
With an automatic third reduction for a guilty plea the maximum a motorist, who admits such an offence, can receive is less than ten years and is usually less. While no sentence can bring back the life of the victim their families so often leave court feeling that justice has not been done.
Raising the limit to life will enable judges to impose higher sentences more in keeping with the gravity of the offences.
But I was disappointed to read that the Prison Reform Trust and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety do not support raising the maximum terms with the former instead suggesting longer driving bans and “community based intervention.”
Frankly that is both out of touch with public feeling and reality. A driving ban, long or short, will not deter many of the defendants whose selfish behaviour has wiped out a life.
Meanwhile I am pleased that the proposals also include a new offence is to be created of causing injury by careless driving as this fills a gap in existing legislation.
Jonathan Arnott MEP