Increased sentences for dangerous drivers

This week the Government announced new proposals which mean that killer drivers will face life in prison.

The increase in sentence to life in prison is for people who cause death by dangerous driving and for careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs.

The proposals also include the creation of a new offence of causing serious injury through careless driving.

I welcome the new life sentence penalty, which is a big increase on the current sentence of 14 years.

The proposed changes follow the outcome of a consultation of more than 9,000 people. Of those responses, 70 per cent called for an increase in the sentence for death by dangerous driving to life in prison.

Since I became an MP in 2010, I have campaigned on this issue as I have always believed that in the worst cases, dangerous drivers should face the same penalty as those who commit manslaughter. Dangerous drivers who kill someone whilst street racing or otherwise driving recklessly should face a life sentence. This does not include a momentary lapse of concentration but a deliberately callous act.

I also welcome the new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, which will be punishable by imprisonment. I hope the sentence for this offence will reflect the seriousness of the injuries suffered by victims and be increased for those who leave a victim with life-changing injuries.

Last year, 157 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, with a further 32 convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence. This change in the law would mean all of those people would have faced life in prison.

I hope these tougher sentences will act as a deterrent to dangerous and criminal behaviour on our roads and fewer people will be killed or seriously injured in future.