IAM RoadSmart (IRS) has welcomed the new UK government legislation that could issue life sentences to drivers who cause death by speeding, street racing or while a mobile phone, or under the influence of drink or drugs. However, the road safety charity warned that high profile policing and consistent jail sentences are also needed to tackle reckless driving that kills.
An IRS survey in February found that nearly 80% agreed that there should be a new offence of causing severe injury by careless driving. In addition, 50% said that the 14 year jail penalty for death by dangerous driving was not set at the right level.
Neil Greig, IRS director of policy and research, said: “The public has been calling for stricter penalties for those who cause death by driving recklessly, and the moves today by the Government are wholeheartedly welcomed. However, we feel that visible policing, and a high likelihood of being caught, is the surest way of making people drive better. If people don’t think they will be caught, they simply won’t drive in a safer way.”
Greig added: “It is also vital that courts reflect society’s view on the impact of dangerous driving and use the maximum available sentences – something they have so far not demonstrated on a consistent basis. While a toughening of the law might make people feel better, on its own it is sadly unlikely to reduce the number of cases of really selfish driving which end in tragic results.”