Longer sentences for banned drivers who kill or injure other road users

New offence of causing serious injury while disqualified

by John Stevenson   May 6, 2014  

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling

The government has today announced increased penalties for drivers who kill or seriously injure other road users while banned.

The law will be changed so disqualified drivers will face up to ten years in prison if they cause death, and a new offence of causing serious injury while disqualified will be created, with a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling also announced plans to launch a full review of all driving offences and penalties, including reviewing offences committed by uninsured and unlicensed drivers.

In 2012, there were 16 prosecutions and 13 convictions in 2012 for causing death by driving when disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured, according to the government’s own figures.

Announcing the change in the law, 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.”

Two of the highest-profile cyclist deaths of recent years involved drivers who had disregarded driving bans, though in both cases they were found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

In May last year, Nicholas Lovell was jailed for ten years and six months and banned from driving for life for killing Ross and Clare Simons. The couple were riding their tandem when he crashed into them as he was trying to get away from a police car.

Initially banned from driving in 1999, Lovell had 11 convictions for driving while disqualified, and he had also been convicted four times on charges of dangerous driving. That case was one of those raised in a parliamentary debate on sentencing in January.

In December, Samuel Kirk was sentenced to six years in prison for killing Jennifer Hossack. Kirk, who was disqualified at the time of the crash and had also been drinking, illegally crossed a double white line to overtake another vehicle and hit Hossack, who was riding in the opposite direction.

Through its Road Justice campaign, cycling charity CTC has been pressing for a review of the law relating to traffic offences that lead to result in the death or serious injury of vulnerable road users.

CTC’s Road Justice coordinator Rhia Weston welcomed the plan to review all driving penalties and offences.

Weston told road.cc: “CTC strongly welcomes the Government’s commitment to a full review of all driving offences and penalties and specifically the announcement to increase custodial sentences for those who cause death and serious injury whilst disqualified.

“CTC has long called for tougher sentences for those who flout driving bans. CTC’s Road Justice campaign also wants to see much greater use of driving bans for those who commit driving offences without wilful risk taking and wider use of non-custodial options such as vehicle confiscation.

“This is in line with our newly published report on sentencing of driving offences, which will be debated by a panel of legal experts in June.”

62 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

SB76 wrote:
ct wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:

Prison is an expensive option and bear in mind that while in there, people don't earn anything to pay for their families or pay taxes, becoming instead a burden on the state. Some of those in prison may not have been paying taxes anyway, but by no means all.


S'all about the money....for shame

And quite often dont learn anything either. It isnt always the most sensible option but must be there and usable when the case requires it.

Prison is a university for crime. Once people have been in, the likelihood of them reoffending increases and the potential for them being a contributor to society also decreases. This has a financial as well as a social/human cost.

The target is for offences to be avoided in the first place. This reduces the overall cost to society, whether financial or social/human: carrot instead of stick in other words. This is a more productive and efficient way to construct a society.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2209 posts]
7th May 2014 - 11:20

6 Likes

This does seem like a step in the right direction, however I'm not convinced that it will really discourage banned drivers from getting behind the wheel.

People who drive whilst banned don't expect to kill or injure anyone; they don't even expect the chances of getting caught driving to be that high. I hate to say it but I don't think people's behaviours will be substantially changed.

posted by Matt eaton [395 posts]
7th May 2014 - 11:52

11 Likes

Do these new guidelines/sentences have any effect on the arseholes that buzz past your handlebars within millimetres to spare at 40 odd MPH?

Or the ones that have decided that indicating isn't for them, or the left hookers, or the ones that park in cycle lanes, or the ones that stop in ASLs, or the ones that park on pavements, or the ones that run reds, or the ones that decide to turn across you because they can't be bothered to judge your speed properly, or the ones that drive right up your arse, or the ones who allow their passengers to shout, spit and throw things out of the window, or the ones that over take and cut into the kerb to block you off, or the ones that decide not to bother waiting at roundabouts etc etc etc

Then nothing has really changed has it?

Plus ca change...

posted by farrell [1477 posts]
7th May 2014 - 12:01

11 Likes

farrell wrote:
Do these new guidelines/sentences have any effect on the arseholes that buzz past your handlebars within millimetres to spare at 40 odd MPH?

Or the ones that have decided that indicating isn't for them, or the left hookers, or the ones that park in cycle lanes, or the ones that stop in ASLs, or the ones that park on pavements, or the ones that run reds, or the ones that decide to turn across you because they can't be bothered to judge your speed properly, or the ones that drive right up your arse, or the ones who allow their passengers to shout, spit and throw things out of the window, or the ones that over take and cut into the kerb to block you off, or the ones that decide not to bother waiting at roundabouts etc etc etc

Then nothing has really changed has it?

Plus ca change...

Only if they cause you an injury and they are already disqualified.

Other laws apply to the circumstances you describe. Get a camera and keep reporting.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [644 posts]
7th May 2014 - 12:24

8 Likes

OldRidgeback wrote:
SB76 wrote:
ct wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:

Prison is an expensive option and bear in mind that while in there, people don't earn anything to pay for their families or pay taxes, becoming instead a burden on the state. Some of those in prison may not have been paying taxes anyway, but by no means all.


S'all about the money....for shame

And quite often dont learn anything either. It isnt always the most sensible option but must be there and usable when the case requires it.

Prison is a university for crime. Once people have been in, the likelihood of them reoffending increases and the potential for them being a contributor to society also decreases. This has a financial as well as a social/human cost.

The target is for offences to be avoided in the first place. This reduces the overall cost to society, whether financial or social/human: carrot instead of stick in other words. This is a more productive and efficient way to construct a society.

Sadly prevention rather than cure is more expensive and to degree, difficult to quantify the overall success for cost. I do agree entirely but we do live in a world of cure rather than prevention

posted by SB76 [80 posts]
7th May 2014 - 12:45

5 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
But you knew all that right?

No, I didn't. I know nothing about the law. Gosh, what would I do without you to outline it all for me? And in such small, comprehensible words, too.

You're a star!

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [224 posts]
7th May 2014 - 13:04

10 Likes

farrell wrote:
Do these new guidelines/sentences have any effect on the arseholes that buzz past your handlebars within millimetres to spare at 40 odd MPH?

Or the ones that have decided that indicating isn't for them, or the left hookers, or the ones that park in cycle lanes, or the ones that stop in ASLs, or the ones that park on pavements, or the ones that run reds, or the ones that decide to turn across you because they can't be bothered to judge your speed properly, or the ones that drive right up your arse, or the ones who allow their passengers to shout, spit and throw things out of the window, or the ones that over take and cut into the kerb to block you off, or the ones that decide not to bother waiting at roundabouts etc etc etc

Then nothing has really changed has it?

Plus ca change...

Or the guy in the Lexus on Park Lane the other evening. As is becoming more and more common these days, he poked his car out onto the carriageway, thus forcing others to slow down and (in my case) swerve. As I did so, I must have had a disapproving look on my face. I didn't look at him, I didn't remove my hands from the handlebars, and I didn't utter a word.

As I passed, the driver's window was open, and in a thick London accent, he said, 'Come on, arsehole!'

This casual aggression has now become the norm on London streets because drivers of motor vehicles have learned that despite what the law actually says, they have de facto impunity from prosecution.

I continued on my way, and he overtook me and indicated left, pulling in front of me to stop me. I braked and went around the right hand side of his car. He was shouting threats, telling me what would happen to me if he got out of his car.

And you know what? I didn't even bother noting his registration number.

Have any of you actually used the 'Road Safe London' link on the Metropolitan Police website? I must have used it about fifty times, to report death threats, punishment passes, speeding, telephoning.

Guess how many have resulted in prosecution?

Nil.

A month or so ago, I reported some guy who tried to run me down as I was crossing the entrance to a sidestreet. The response was that that was 'not a motoring offence, but a public order offence'. I was invited to attend at a police station to report it.

How many people receiving that, will bother their arse actually going to the local nick ?

I didn't.

And 'crime rates are coming down'.

Of course they are.

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [224 posts]
7th May 2014 - 13:21

9 Likes

However, I am of the belief that only those who pose a danger to society should be behind bars
If you're banned from driving you've proven beyond reasonable doubt that you're a dangerous driver.
If you chose to drive while banned, you are a danger to society - and if a driving ban doesn't stop you, surely locking you up will?

posted by kraut [30 posts]
7th May 2014 - 14:07

13 Likes

There are some really unlucky riders on this forum going by the regular "this happened" and "that happened" and "i remember when" that get rolled out by certain forum users on a regular basis.

In 40 years of cycling i think i can count on one hand the number of close shaves i've had and i think only once have i had someone gob off at me.

But then again i suppose if i exaggerated it a bit it might sound better........ Wink

As for the new legislation it's like a chocolate fireguard, it might initially work but ultimately its of no use whatsoever.

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2778 posts]
7th May 2014 - 14:25

9 Likes

stumps wrote:
There are some really unlucky riders on this forum going by the regular "this happened" and "that happened" and "i remember when" that get rolled out by certain forum users on a regular basis.

I do wonder, I often think that was a bit close, usually involves on coming traffic and overtakes on blind bends. I have had a bottle thrown at me, a few bits of verbal an arse slap from a woman in a convertible. But to be honest it isn't that common, maybe not living in London is why I don't see the level some seem to????

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1134 posts]
7th May 2014 - 14:32

3 Likes

SB76 wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:
SB76 wrote:
ct wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:

Prison is an expensive option and bear in mind that while in there, people don't earn anything to pay for their families or pay taxes, becoming instead a burden on the state. Some of those in prison may not have been paying taxes anyway, but by no means all.


S'all about the money....for shame

And quite often dont learn anything either. It isnt always the most sensible option but must be there and usable when the case requires it.

Prison is a university for crime. Once people have been in, the likelihood of them reoffending increases and the potential for them being a contributor to society also decreases. This has a financial as well as a social/human cost.

The target is for offences to be avoided in the first place. This reduces the overall cost to society, whether financial or social/human: carrot instead of stick in other words. This is a more productive and efficient way to construct a society.

Sadly prevention rather than cure is more expensive and to degree, difficult to quantify the overall success for cost. I do agree entirely but we do live in a world of cure rather than prevention

Prevention is actually significantly cheaper than the cure in most instances.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2209 posts]
7th May 2014 - 14:58

12 Likes

mrmo wrote:
stumps wrote:
There are some really unlucky riders on this forum going by the regular "this happened" and "that happened" and "i remember when" that get rolled out by certain forum users on a regular basis.

I do wonder, I often think that was a bit close, usually involves on coming traffic and overtakes on blind bends. I have had a bottle thrown at me, a few bits of verbal an arse slap from a woman in a convertible. But to be honest it isn't that common, maybe not living in London is why I don't see the level some seem to????

I wish i had a lass slap my backside ! sorry sidetracked there Big Grin

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2778 posts]
7th May 2014 - 15:09

4 Likes

No worries

Happy to help!

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [644 posts]
7th May 2014 - 15:12

5 Likes

SB76 wrote:
Sadly prevention rather than cure is more expensive and to degree, difficult to quantify the overall success for cost. I do agree entirely but we do live in a world of cure rather than prevention

Every single study/analysis I've seen on preventative programmes, of varying kinds have shown a large net benefit to society.

Better grade schools = Net benefit
More socialisation activity (think youth clubs) = Net benefit
Better skills training for school leavers = Net benefit

The cure is very expensive, prevention is ROI positive.

posted by jacknorell [404 posts]
7th May 2014 - 15:29

8 Likes

I am genuinely interested as to why anyone would choose to cycle along Park Lane ? There is a no traffic route in Hyde Park parallel to this road or the back streets of Mayfair which are both preferable to the race track that park lane has become. I know it shouldn't be like this but you are far more likely to encounter fast "I don't give a shit" traffic on Park Lane than any other place in the West End.

posted by arfa [502 posts]
7th May 2014 - 15:56

8 Likes

According to "failing" Grayling:
In 2012, there were 16 prosecutions and 13 convictions in 2012 for causing death by driving when disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured, according to the government’s own figures.

In Mr Grayling's blinkered view this naturally means it is now a whole lot safer to be a cyclist. I don't think so - not for one moment ! ! !
I would venture to suggest it will not make a scrap of difference. What is needed is presumed liability, with the CPS somehow having the balls to actually enforce it, rather than risk upsetting the motoring lobby.
The life and limbs of a cyclist are just as important as those of Mr Grayling - we are citizens just as much as he.
I can't believe that such high-profile personalities as Boris Johnson and David Cameron profess themselves to be "cyclists" and yet seem to do very little positive to try to stop the intimidation and slaughter of two wheeled road users.

K Stand Ken

posted by K Stand Ken [43 posts]
7th May 2014 - 16:16

6 Likes

arfa wrote:
I am genuinely interested as to why anyone would choose to cycle along Park Lane ?

Because it is outside my 'patch', and I had to get from Paddington to London Bridge. I'm not originally from London, and that seemed like the quickest route.

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [224 posts]
7th May 2014 - 16:28

8 Likes

Can I recommend taking a look at google maps and using the cycling directions as this would have steered you on to the cycle paths ?
I am sorry to hear of your experience on Park Lane but sadly it doesn't surprise me.

posted by arfa [502 posts]
7th May 2014 - 16:33

4 Likes

jacknorell wrote:
SB76 wrote:
Sadly prevention rather than cure is more expensive and to degree, difficult to quantify the overall success for cost. I do agree entirely but we do live in a world of cure rather than prevention

Every single study/analysis I've seen on preventative programmes, of varying kinds have shown a large net benefit to society.

Better grade schools = Net benefit
More socialisation activity (think youth clubs) = Net benefit
Better skills training for school leavers = Net benefit

The cure is very expensive, prevention is ROI positive.

Exactly - a few thousand quid to a youth club or youth sports group can save millions even if those youth groups keep just two or three youths out of trouble. Add up the cost of social workers, prison and all that and compare those costs with the benefit of having those same youths earning money and paying taxes and it makes sense.

I live in an area with some deprivation. Our cycling club attracts a lot of lads from tough backgrounds and we've managed to keep a few out of trouble. The social benefit that has for all is enormous. It's just a pity the government doesn't recognise how important investing in youth facilities really is.

Looking wider afield, prevention is better than cure on the road too.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2209 posts]
7th May 2014 - 17:01

3 Likes

cyclingDMlondon wrote:
arfa wrote:
I am genuinely interested as to why anyone would choose to cycle along Park Lane ?

Because it is outside my 'patch', and I had to get from Paddington to London Bridge. I'm not originally from London, and that seemed like the quickest route.

Park Lane is right next to Hyde Park, which has a rather nice cycle lane. I used to ride past Paddington on my way to work. A bit of prep would've given you a nicer route, using some of the back streets. I covered a lot of the same ground and there are plenty of better options.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2209 posts]
7th May 2014 - 17:03

4 Likes

arfa wrote:
I am genuinely interested as to why anyone would choose to cycle along Park Lane ? There is a no traffic route in Hyde Park parallel to this road or the back streets of Mayfair which are both preferable to the race track that park lane has become. I know it shouldn't be like this but you are far more likely to encounter fast "I don't give a shit" traffic on Park Lane than any other place in the West End.

arfa wrote:
Can I recommend taking a look at google maps and using the cycling directions as this would have steered you on to the cycle paths ?
I am sorry to hear of your experience on Park Lane but sadly it doesn't surprise me.

Well off the topic of the article, but this is what I usually find - if one has the time and technology to carefully work out a good route before hand (or if its a route one has done a lot and have 'finessed') one can get around by bike without too much trouble.

But if you have to go somewhere for the first time and don't know the route you will either get hopelessly lost on 'quiet side streets' that don't actually join up, or get stuck on a very busy road which turns out to be a bit of a nightmare.

I don't know why the various recommended bike routes in London are so badly signposted. You only get a clue which way to go at about every fourth junction, then you get lost and faff about a bit before accidentally stumbling back onto the route again (or an entirely different route which you decide will do instead). Short of real infrastructure, it would help if they made a bit more of an effort with signposting.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [685 posts]
7th May 2014 - 17:04

3 Likes

jacknorell wrote:
SB76 wrote:
Sadly prevention rather than cure is more expensive and to degree, difficult to quantify the overall success for cost. I do agree entirely but we do live in a world of cure rather than prevention

Every single study/analysis I've seen on preventative programmes, of varying kinds have shown a large net benefit to society.

Better grade schools = Net benefit
More socialisation activity (think youth clubs) = Net benefit
Better skills training for school leavers = Net benefit

The cure is very expensive, prevention is ROI positive.

What is this 'net benefit'?

I don't mean to be cynical (OK, I do...), but claiming that measures 'prevent crime' is a bit like claiming that every capital execution 'saves two lives'.

It's nonsense. It is impossible to calculate crimes that are not committed.

My view is that scum is scum, and no matter how much money you toss at a social club for teenage boys, if one of them is going to grow up to be White Van Man who kills someone in a 'punishment pass' gone wrong, then he is going to grow up to be White Van Man who kills someone in a 'punishment pass' gone wrong.

Scum don't come from any particular class, creed or colour. But equally axiomatically, all the 'education' in the world cannot change stupidity and malice. All it can do is to impart knowledge.

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [224 posts]
8th May 2014 - 15:53

3 Likes

stumps wrote:
mrmo wrote:
stumps wrote:
There are some really unlucky riders on this forum going by the regular "this happened" and "that happened" and "i remember when" that get rolled out by certain forum users on a regular basis.

I do wonder, I often think that was a bit close, usually involves on coming traffic and overtakes on blind bends. I have had a bottle thrown at me, a few bits of verbal an arse slap from a woman in a convertible. But to be honest it isn't that common, maybe not living in London is why I don't see the level some seem to????

I wish i had a lass slap my backside ! sorry sidetracked there Big Grin

Wasn't there a story in the Guardian this week, about a woman who got a slap on the bum from a passing motorcyclist?

No excuse for that, of course. But unsurprisingly, this hack had to call it 'casual sexism', and by implication, tar all men with the same brush.

Plus ça change...

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [224 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:05

1 Like

It was Helen Pidd, Northern Editor of the Guardian who was slapped and wrote about it.

Hardly a hack.

Quite a useful cyclist.

I'm not sure why she has drawn your ire.

posted by farrell [1477 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:09

6 Likes

FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
arfa wrote:
I am genuinely interested as to why anyone would choose to cycle along Park Lane ? There is a no traffic route in Hyde Park parallel to this road or the back streets of Mayfair which are both preferable to the race track that park lane has become. I know it shouldn't be like this but you are far more likely to encounter fast "I don't give a shit" traffic on Park Lane than any other place in the West End.

arfa wrote:
Can I recommend taking a look at google maps and using the cycling directions as this would have steered you on to the cycle paths ?
I am sorry to hear of your experience on Park Lane but sadly it doesn't surprise me.

Well off the topic of the article, but this is what I usually find - if one has the time and technology to carefully work out a good route before hand (or if its a route one has done a lot and have 'finessed') one can get around by bike without too much trouble.

But if you have to go somewhere for the first time and don't know the route you will either get hopelessly lost on 'quiet side streets' that don't actually join up, or get stuck on a very busy road which turns out to be a bit of a nightmare.

I don't know why the various recommended bike routes in London are so badly signposted.

It's not just cycle routes. There are too many roads that don't even have signs on the wall at each end.

I've lived in (by which I mean 'for periods in excess of a year) and cycled in four major European cities, and when I enter a street, I'm used to glancing up at the wall on the first building, and seeing the name of the street.

This isn't the case in a large number of London streets.

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [224 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:14

3 Likes

farrell wrote:
It was Helen Pidd, Northern Editor of the Guardian who was slapped and wrote about it.

Hardly a hack.

Quite a useful cyclist.

I'm not sure why she has drawn your ire.

Because she's an idiot.

Calling an assault 'sexist' is like accusing all blacks of being predisposed to thievery, because one black person steals.

It wouldn't be acceptable, and it shouldn't be, out of the mouth of a pseudo-intellectual feminazi.

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [224 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:16

4 Likes

Actually, it is fuck all like that.

A slap on the back or a slap to the head is massively different to slapping a woman on the arse.

I pity you if you can't see that.

posted by farrell [1477 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:23

6 Likes

Did you see that lamb chops are on offer at Morrisson's this week?

Yeah, it's exactly the same as the after effects of the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki.

posted by farrell [1477 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:25

4 Likes

farrell wrote:
Actually, it is fuck all like that.

A slap on the back or a slap to the head is massively different to slapping a woman on the arse..

No it isn't.

Conversation over.

'It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning' (Henry Ford)

cyclingDMlondon's picture

posted by cyclingDMlondon [224 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:27

2 Likes

cyclingDMlondon wrote:
farrell wrote:
Actually, it is fuck all like that.

A slap on the back or a slap to the head is massively different to slapping a woman on the arse..

No it isn't.

Conversation over.

That's a shame, I was really looking forward to more woman hating pearls of wisdom like "pseudo-intellectual feminazi".

You ever kissed a lass, son?

posted by farrell [1477 posts]
8th May 2014 - 16:46

5 Likes