The government has announced plans to increase the sentence that banned drivers receive if they cause death while driving. There will also be a new sentence of causing serious injury while banned from driving. The government has said that it is taking the steps after listening to the concerns of the families of victims of these crimes. The new sentence for causing death while banned will be ten years, while causing injury while disqualified will carry a maximum four year term. The previous sentence for causing death while banned was two years. The changes are set to come into force in early 2015.
Under the current law, those who drive while banned and cause the death of another person receive a maximum of two years in prison. The families of victims affected by this offence have raised concerns, stating that the punishment is not long enough.
Having listened to these concerns, the government has announced that it will increase the term from the current two years to a more stringent ten year maximum penalty. Furthermore, the government has said that they will introduce a new crime, which is the causing of serious injuries while driving without a licence or while banned. This new crime will carry a four year maximum penalty.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has promised that there will be a full review of all driving offences, with particular attention paid to those that mean a person endangers the lives of others while driving. He said that laws may be tightened to ensure that anybody that puts lives at risk while driving will receive just punishment. This may include offences like driving without insurance, as well as driving while banned or driving without a proper licence.
Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan has said that while the move to ensure proper punishment for dangerous drivers is welcomed, the public should receive assurances that there is room in the prisons, which he claims have become overcrowded under the government’s watch, to house those criminals that are punished under the new laws. The changes will apply to all drivers in England, Scotland, and Wales, but not in Northern Ireland, where they have their own set of driving related laws and punishments.