Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced tougher sentences for banned drivers who cause death on the roads. Any disqualified driver who causes death on the roads will face a prison sentence of up to ten years, instead of the current term of two.
A new offence of causing serious injury while disqualified will also be introduced and this will carry a four-year term. The changes are expected to come into force in early 2015.
Mr Grayling said the government was implementing the changes after listening to the concerns of victims families. He said:
“I want to make our roads safer and ensure people who cause harm face tough penalties. Disqualified drivers should not be on our roads for good reason. Those who choose to defy a ban imposed by a court and go on to destroy innocent lives must face serious consequences for the terrible impact of their actions. Today, we are sending a clear message that anyone who does will face much tougher punishment.”
According to The Guardian, Tory backbencher Steve Barclay, who backed the new campaign, uncovered figures which show that in 2011, 153 of the 408 people convicted of causing death or bodily harm while driving dangerously, or under the influence of drink or drugs, avoided jail altogether. Five were given fines, and 63 were given suspended prison sentences.
Mr Grayling also said he intended to launch a review of driving offences and penalties to ensure people who put people’s lives at risk were punished properly.
But while Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan agreed that those who caused death by driving should be properly punished, he also raised concerns about the issue of space within prisons. He stated:
“The government also needs to assure the public that they have enough space in prison to cope with the increased demand. The current shortage of space and increased overcrowding on their watch has led to serious problems in our prisons.”