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Death by Careless Driving to be Killed Off?

by Anton Balkitis

The law that punishes dangerous drivers must be overhauled. At least, that’s the view of MP Greg Mulholland, who has been campaigning on behalf of victims of criminal driving since 2010.

Mulholland says that in many cases there is a strong feeling that proper and fair justice has not been done and that offenders sometimes do not receive a strong punishment given the crime.

He has put together a 10-page manifesto, which calls for the removal of the charge of “careless driving”, which he describes as an inappropriate and offensive term to use for bad driving, particularly when it has resulted in a death and suffering.

Along with road safety charity Brake, Mulholland wants charges and penalties for causing death or serious injury revised to get rid of the split between careless and dangerous, “so that prosecutors aren’t tempted to go for an easier win charge that carries inappropriately low penalties and deems driving that has killed or caused serious harm as merely ‘careless’”.

The manifesto calls for a single charge to replace careless and dangerous driving, such as ‘causing death or serious injury by risky driving’.

Judges would then use their discretion to sentence according to the level of risk taken, up to a
maximum of 14 years, which currently exists for causing death by dangerous driving.

There are more sentences and areas that Mulholland is demanding are overhauled, including increasing the maximum penalty for dangerous driving to five years, increasing the maximum sentence for causing serious injury by dangerous driving to 14 years and increasing the maximum sentence for failing to stop following a fatal or serious injury crash. They can be found here.

Whether you agree with the contents or not, reading about how a 16-year-old constituent of Mulholland’s was killed by a drunk driver speeding while twice over the limit and who was eventually jailed for just four years at least gives you a sense that something in the system is not right.

Contact our motoring offence solicitors for advice on 0800 046 3066

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