The Government has announced proposals to introduce a life sentence on dangerous drivers who cause death on the roads.
Has the message finally hit home? Could he finally be investigating the other causes of road traffic accidents?
Currently if you cause death by dangerous driving the maximum sentence you can receive is 14 years. This will likely increase according to the latest proposals and it’s not just those who cause the accident that will be targeted. Motorists who leave the scene of an accident without stopping and those who use their mobile phones behind the wheel will also come under scrutiny.
Discussing his proposals, Chris Grayling stated: “The Prime Minister and I have agreed to look again at the 14 year upper limit for causing death by dangerous driving with a view to deciding if we should increase it. One option is to allow the courts to impose a life sentence for the most extreme cases.”
The RAC revealed in an increase of 38% on deaths caused by dangerous driving in 2013, meaning the Government’s revelation that they’re preparing to become firmer when punishing offenders will be greeted positively, as it’s hoped that it will deter drivers from driving recklessly in the future and increase the encouragement of safer driving practices.
Scott Rees and Co’s Partner for Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker, welcomed the proposals, saying: “This would be a real positive step should it be introduced. The after-effects of a high speed road traffic accident can be devastating for victims and their loved ones and with the number of deaths caused by dangerous driving crime rising in 2013 it’s clear that there’s a clampdown needed.”
“It could be argued that in certain circumstances life sentences are too harsh however it’s nowhere near when you compare a life sentence to the trauma of losing a loved one. It makes a pleasant difference to speak positively regarding a proposal of Chris Grayling’s for once and should these proposals be followed up the could have a real impact on the number of accidents occurring on British roads each year, especially of a catastrophic nature.”
Figures revealed earlier this year that the number of people using their mobile phones behind the wheel has risen 14% and that more people are committing the offence than in 2009. The more common reasons that people use their phones is to send texts or look at social media sites, which of course requires the maximum amount of attention.
Speaking regarding mobile phone usage on UK roads, Chris Grayling followed up: “There is no excuse in today’s worked when hands-free technology is available quite cheaply for people to be driving along with a phone in their ear.”
Harsher penalties for using a mobile phone behind the wheel were introduced in 2007, when the penalty increased to £60 with the accompaniment of three penalty points on your license. These were followed up in 2013, when the government tackled careless driving. Tougher penalties were introduced for offences that were deemed to be careless including an increase on the penalty for using mobile or handheld devices while driving to £100.
The Government also tackled motorway offences such as tailgating, reversing and driving on the hard shoulder or central reservation in a bid to cut the numbers of instances where dangerous driving occurs, all to a limited effect.
The latest proposals will attempt to tackle this issue further and reverse the trend when it comes to the number of accidents and fatalities occurring on UK roads due to dangerous driving.
Chris Grayling has been active on the campaign trail and recently visited the site in Bristol where a couple were killed by a banned driver who collided with their tandem bike.
The driver in question, despite having 69 previous convictions, received a jail sentence of just ten and a half years and had already shown a lack of remorse with boasts of how he would be let off with four years. He also left his victims dying at the scene of the accident.
Its attitudes resembling his that brings into contention that punishments for dangerous drivers are too lenient. The fact that he bragged that he would escape harsher punishment, displays that current punishments for such crimes do not do enough and therefore are too soft.
This is one Chris Grayling proposal that people can support and represents a step in the right direction when it comes to tackling the number of fatal accidents that occur on UK roads each year.