Brake renews call for tougher sentencing for driving offences

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Dangerous Driving

Road safety charity Brake has renewed its call for tougher charges and penalties for divers who kill and injure after Government figures showed a large proportion of drivers were being let off with relatively low penalties.

According to the criminal justice figures for 2013, 438 drivers were convicted of causing death or bodily harm. Just over half (55%) were given immediate prison sentences, up slightly from 54% in 2012 [2]. Only one in seven (14%) were given more than five years in prison, a small increase from one in ten (10%) in 2012.

The figures also showed that show of 125 convicted of causing death by dangerous driving (which has a maximum penalty of 14 years), almost all (96%) given immediate prison sentences but only one third (33%) given more than five years.

In addition. 215 were convicted of causing death by careless driving (which has a maximum penalty of five years), with only one in three (30%) given immediate prison sentences, while 31 were convicted of the new charge of causing injury by dangerous driving (which has a maximum penalty of five years), with half (52%) given immediate prison sentences.

The average fine for driving offences remained unchanged in real terms, at £214 in 2009 prices. By comparison, the fine for not having a TV licence is £1,000.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “While the slight increase in higher-level sentences is encouraging, it does not go nearly far enough. We still see drivers who have killed through their risky actions being inappropriately charged with causing death by ‘careless driving’ and receiving low sentences as a result – one of the key issues that must be addressed in the forthcoming government review.”

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