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Life sentences for drivers who kill to come into force tomorrow

  • 27.06.2022
  • EmmaArnold
  • Personal-injury
  • dangerous driving fatal accident life sentence

Dangerous drivers who kill someone and careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs could receive life sentences due to changes in the law.

As the current penalty for each crime is a maximum prison sentence of 14 years, judges will be able to give life sentences as of tomorrow.

The changes, which were first proposed in 2017, come into force as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.

About the increase in sentencing, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said:

Too many lives have been lost to reckless behaviour behind the wheel, devastating families. Those responsible will now face the possibility of life behind bars.

The new legislation will also deem causing serious injury by careless driving an offence meaning tougher sentences for those who inflict long-term or permanent injuries whilst driving.

It is hoped the threat of a life sentence in prison will be enough to deter those who drive recklessly to continue to do so.

The government the Crown Prosecution Service will still charge people with murder or manslaughter where there is evidence that a vehicle was used as a weapon to kill or commit grievous bodily harm to ensure the punishments reflect the severity of crimes and the misery killer drivers leave in their wake.

Matthew Hall, Chartered Legal Executive in personal injury at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

A more severe maximum sentence in the most serious cases could help to give a greater sense of justice for victims and their bereaved families. A new criminal offence of causing serious injury by careless driving is also a positive, if long overdue, change in the law. 

Many of the clients I have represented were seriously injured by a negligent driver whose actions were undoubtedly careless, but not considered legally to be dangerous.  Those clients often felt that the person responsible never faced any real consequences for their actions.  This new offence will hopefully ensure a proper penalty for causing serious injuries, help victims to pursue compensation in the civil courts and give greater recognition to the devastating impact that a serious injury has on a person’s life.

Matthew Hall is a Chartered Legal Executive in personal injury here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about a fatal car accident or indeed any other aspect of personal injury and wish to speak to Matthew or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0800 027 2557 or fill out a contact form.