Government announces full review of driving offences and penalties

The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has announced that the Government will conduct a full review of driving offences and penalties over the next few months.

He also announced that the custodial sentence for drivers who kill while disqualified from driving, unlicensed or uninsured, will be extended from the current two years to ten years.

A separate offence of causing serious injury whilst disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured will also be created, with a maximum sentence of four years.

These much tougher maximum sentences are designed to reflect the devastating impact on victims and their families.

These changes will come into effect in early 2015.

Campaigning for change

These announcements come after a petition calling on the government to review and change sentencing guidelines, so that drivers who kill when disqualified from driving receive tougher sentences, was signed by over 15,000 people.

The petition was set up by the family of Ross and Clare Simons who were killed whilst riding their tandem bike in January 2014 by a driver who was disqualified at the time and had 11 previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified and four for dangerous driving. He received a sentence of just 10 years and 6 months.

In 2012, there were 16 prosecutions and 13 convictions for causing death by driving when disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured.

CTC’s Road Justice campaign, which is supported by CDF, has welcomed the Government’s announcement. CTC has long campaigned for tougher sentences for those who flout driving bans. The campaign also wants to see much greater use of driving bans for those who commit driving offences without willful risk taking and wider use of non-custodial options such as vehicle confiscation.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling 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 chose 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.”

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