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New offence of causing serious injury while disqualified

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.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

63 comments

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jacknorell [942 posts] 1 year ago
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If they simply changed from sentences running concurrent to sequential, a lot of these under-sentencing malarkey would go away.

Then simply stack the offences, get a verdict on each, and put the scum away.

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pdw [49 posts] 1 year ago
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This seems to completely miss the point. Surely we should be jailing people for driving whilst disqualified *before* they kill or injure someone?

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kitkat [313 posts] 1 year ago
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How about a change in prosecutions so we see more people banned from driving for life?

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noizebox [21 posts] 1 year ago
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Why is killing with a car treated differently from killing with any other blunt object?

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SB76 [102 posts] 1 year ago
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kitkat wrote:

How about a change in prosecutions so we see more people banned from driving for life?

The law is supposed to provide a sentence then once completed, the person is deemed to have served their punishment and hopefully learnt there lesson.

Having strong incentives to not break the law will always work much better than life times bans which may drive those affected to intentionally subvert the law.

Eitherway, the law seems to have become toothless with regard to such issues

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gareth2510 [167 posts] 1 year ago
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Just typing the sentence 'driving whilst banned' seems so absurd, but I suppose of they're caught doing it and thrown inside it is better than getting points and a ban on a license which they've already lost...ahhh the whole scenario is just wrong!!

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SB76 [102 posts] 1 year ago
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gareth2510 wrote:

Im shocked and stunned at the amount of incidents I hear or read about which re caused by "banned drivers"
These morons clearly have no respect for authority or other humans, so would increasing the sentences make any difference to said morons attitude before they chose to drive banned?

Sadly I fear not

10 years in prision if they get caught might. In truth surely the key is education and a sufficient penalty BUT the morons have to be willing to change their attitude

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Belaroo [44 posts] 1 year ago
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It would make sense to introduce compulsory re-testing for anyone who gets more than 12 points or who is banned. And before anyone says it, there are plenty still driving out there with 12 points or more.

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northstar [1108 posts] 1 year ago
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Too little too late, the horse has already bolted.

When will we see ALL driving offences taken seriously before they are able to do anything even more dangerous?

Answer: Never.

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earth [255 posts] 1 year ago
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So the increased sentence only applies once the banned driver has killed someone.

No doubt it was easier to pass this as a law but I do not think this will deter anyone and no length of sentence will bring a person back.

They need to push further now and make it law that anyone caught driving without a license will also get a prison sentence otherwise the license is meaningless.

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therevokid [911 posts] 1 year ago
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yes ... how do you get away with more than 12 points AND still keep your license !!!!!!!!!!!

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earth [255 posts] 1 year ago
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Belaroo wrote:

It would make sense to introduce compulsory re-testing for anyone who gets more than 12 points or who is banned. And before anyone says it, there are plenty still driving out there with 12 points or more.

It makes sense. You might go further and say licenses only last for a period of time before they have to be renewed and a refresher test must be taken.

People require licenses for other dangerous items such as flying aeroplanes and guns. But those licenses do not have a unlimited lifespan and I think the evidence is that automobiles in the UK kill far more people than guns or aeroplanes put together.

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pdw [49 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

So the increased sentence only applies once the banned driver has killed someone.

Exactly. It's completely missing the point.

One of the examples cited involves a driver who had already been convicted of driving whilst disqualified 11 times. This new law wouldn't have prevented the deaths that he eventually went on to cause.

There was an excellent suggestion made here a week or so ago that driving disqualifications should essentially be suspended sentences: drive whilst banned and serve the rest of your ban inside.

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dreamlx10 [144 posts] 1 year ago
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The answer would be to send more people to jail, and for longer periods. In addition make prison a less welcoming place to be. Of course it is cheaper to watch people being killed on the roads everyday than it is to lock up a criminal in HMP The Ritz. Yes, I have seen the inside of one of the newest prisons and its luxurious.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1114 posts] 1 year ago
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Quite a small step forward, won't make much of a difference, but a good idea in terms of natural justice, I think.

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OldRidgeback [2554 posts] 1 year ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:

The answer would be to send more people to jail, and for longer periods. In addition make prison a less welcoming place to be. Of course it is cheaper to watch people being killed on the roads everyday than it is to lock up a criminal in HMP The Ritz. Yes, I have seen the inside of one of the newest prisons and its luxurious.

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.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1114 posts] 1 year ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:

The answer would be to send more people to jail, and for longer periods. In addition make prison a less welcoming place to be. Of course it is cheaper to watch people being killed on the roads everyday than it is to lock up a criminal in HMP The Ritz. Yes, I have seen the inside of one of the newest prisons and its luxurious.

I have sympathy with your first two points but not the third. I don't demand people in prison be made to suffer, I just want them kept away from me for a reasonable length of time. As driving bans are apparently almost unenforcable*, the only time I can be sure a dangerous driver isn't out there menacing people is when they are banged up. But I don't feel any urge to brutalise them while they are there (which may just make them worse).

*though surely some way can be found to improve this situation?

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ct [148 posts] 1 year ago
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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

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SB76 [102 posts] 1 year ago
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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.

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earth [255 posts] 1 year ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:

Of course it is cheaper to watch people being killed on the roads everyday than it is to lock up a criminal in HMP The Ritz.

On average I bet a person would pay more tax if they die naturally than it costs to imprison someone for driving whilst banned.

Or to put it another way - dead people don't pay tax either.

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Rupert [188 posts] 1 year ago
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Although I do feel we have to be careful how the law sentences drivers who kill others in accidents. I do feel that leniency has to be given to many drivers who cause accidents and kill or badly injure other road users etc. If a genuine accident has happened then I personally wouldn't want someone to be punished for an accident for example skidding on ice and not being able to stop etc.

Where the car driver has been banned but then still continues to drive, I feel that 6 or even 10 years is not enough especially in the high profile cases which have been mentioned.

A ban is a ban break the ban face harsh consequences. !

It is good to see the law slowly but surely starting to wake up to the issues and making sure people are punished for dangerous driving.

Speed limit in towns should be 20mph and cars should be designed so it is easy to drive at that speed in towns.

We should have cars that drive themselves NOW !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShYLRus6RTg

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levermonkey [646 posts] 1 year ago
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SB76 wrote:
kitkat wrote:

How about a change in prosecutions so we see more people banned from driving for life?

The law is supposed to provide a sentence then once completed, the person is deemed to have served their punishment and hopefully learnt there lesson.

Having strong incentives to not break the law will always work much better than life times bans which may drive those affected to intentionally subvert the law.

Eitherway, the law seems to have become toothless with regard to such issues

I see no problem with lifetime bans. This the removal of a 'privilege' not a 'right'.

No-one has the 'right' to a driving licence and the quicker Parliament and the Judiciary realise this the better.

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oozaveared [933 posts] 1 year ago
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kitkat wrote:

How about a change in prosecutions so we see more people banned from driving for life?

My heart agrees with you but my head doesn't. I am all for really tough sentences but the trouble with the "banned for life" recipe being widely used is that it removes any incentive.

Probably most people that get banned take it on the chin and observe the ban. They do so because ultimately they want to drive again legally. They may also have an epiphany about what their driving habits are. they will have to sit an extended test and they will be paying huge insurance and coming to the attention of the police again for anything at all will be a miserable experience. So a ban may actually work in most cases.

But if large numbers of people are banned for life, ie all hope of ever driving again is removed then the likely outcome will be a good deal of disregard. They probably will drive. They'll drive some dangerous old shit heap that they can abandon anytime they want. It won't be registered to them, they won't be insured, they won't be stopping for the police, they are unlikely to drive with any care at all. You can't ban them any more. You could imprison them but then you have to catch them and they won't be pulling over.

It's a nice idea banning people for life. I'd rather see more custodial sentences for offences that would get anywhere near that kind of ban anyway rather than just driving bans. But it may have unforeseen consequences of an increasing number of completely outlaw drivers. No licence, no tax, in a £100 car they are prepared to run off and leave if they have to.

That may not be so good.

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wrevilo [99 posts] 1 year ago
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I have huge sympathy for any family that has been affected by death or injury resulting from a road accident whilst on a bike.

However, I am of the belief that only those who pose a danger to society should be behind bars. If a driver has killed or seriously injured a person by accident and is truly remorseful, then I believe a long term or lifetime driving ban should be given.

Still those that repeatedly break this ban and do pose a danger on the roads should be locked up.

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Gourmet Shot [39 posts] 1 year ago
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Am I the only one reading this as we have banned you from driving but we know that regardless of that you will drive anyway so you better watch out, because if you kill anyone we will be really cross and lock you up...so just go careful and drive safe (even though you're banned).

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monty dog [446 posts] 1 year ago
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There's still a twisted logic in our society that assumes that have a driving license is a necessity to earn a living and this prevents the law-makers from applying the full weight of the law to those that kill and maim.

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ironmancole [276 posts] 1 year ago
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Still lame. To choose to drive whilst disqualified is to choose to stick your middle finger up to society and put your own interests ahead of every other road user. Getting disqualified in the first place is incredibly tricky, no traffic police, cameras turned off and apathetic courts accepting all manner of lame excuses.

On top of all that to then get behind the wheel when you're clearly a menace to society is surely akin to roaming the streets with a shotgun taking pot shots at people.

Disqualified means no insurance is covering you, so your victim is also faced if they survive with the farcical and over burdened motors insurance bureau who look to pay out less than the typically menial sum already allocated for serious injury.

Ten years will rarely be given, out in 4 at the most so in reality nothing much will change. Is this really the best we can do after all the lobbying and heart ache?! Poor Mr. Grayling, must try harder.

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cyclingDMlondon [481 posts] 1 year ago
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As is usual where the evil, worthless, thieving, lying, pigshitted, filthy bastard-dog vermin known as Tories are concerned, it's a measure designed to make people think 'something is being done', whilst at the same time bending over backwards to avoid offending their middle class voter base of car drivers and rich haulage firm MDs.

The law is already there. It's called the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and ss. 47, 20 and 18 already provide for injuries inflicted on pedestrians and cyclists.

If this pile of filth Grayling wanted to 'do something', he would have championed a real change to the law to make the above offences strict liability where they are inflicted with a motorized vehicle.

What a worthless c--t.

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antonio [1103 posts] 1 year ago
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Can't see anything changing, there may be allowances for more severe sentencing but it will be down to the judges to determine the sentences and therein lies the problem for us simple people. We will still not be able to get our heads round killers walking free or undue leniency.

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oozaveared [933 posts] 1 year ago
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cyclingDMlondon wrote:

As is usual where the evil, worthless, thieving, lying, pigshitted, filthy bastard-dog vermin known as Tories are concerned, it's a measure designed to make people think 'something is being done', whilst at the same time bending over backwards to avoid offending their middle class voter base of car drivers and rich haulage firm MDs.

The law is already there. It's called the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and ss. 47, 20 and 18 already provide for injuries inflicted on pedestrians and cyclists.

If this pile of filth Grayling wanted to 'do something', he would have championed a real change to the law to make the above offences strict liability where they are inflicted with a motorized vehicle.

What a worthless c--t.

A well thought out comment. Brilliant analysis.

A couple of points. Laws get amended in the UK all the time. We have a common law system that is backed by statute. As circumstances change the law needs to reflect current practice and circumstance.

This change is a sentencing change. As you so brilliantly pointed out it's already an offence to drive whilst banned and it's already an offence to drive dangerously or carelessly.

You'll have spotted of course that driving whilst DQ is one offence and driving carelessly or dangerously is another as is the higher extended offence of causing death by DD or CD.

If you injure someone through careless driving the
If you kill someone through careless driving max sentence is 5 years
If you kill someone through dangerous driving max sentence is 14 years

If you injure someone through careless driving it's sentenced as careless dricing but with aggravating factors and costs. ie sentence + you pay compo

If you are driving whilst DQd the sentences are dependent on the nature of the offence
ie served your ban Full period expired but retest not taken
sentence is Low level community order Band C fine to medium level community order 6 points or disqualify for 3 – 6 months

if you have not served the whole ban but say most of it ie Lengthy period of ban already served
sentence is High level community order or Medium level community order to 12 weeks custody. Lengthen disqualiication for 6 – 12 months beyond expiry of current ban

or finally if you just flat out ignore the ban and start right from the off ie it's a Recently imposed ban
sentence is 12 weeks custody High level community order to 26 weeks custody Lengthen disqualiication for 12 – 18 months beyond expiry of current ban.

You'll have known all this I'm sure but if you are a DQd driver say in the low level category for sentencing and you injure someone whilst driving (lets say it's not even your fault) the current sentence is as you can see a Band C fine unless you aggravate it further.

Under the new sentencing guidelines you'll get a custodial of 4 years just for the offence of causing injury whilst banned.

But you knew all that right?

I'd say it's an improvement and decent step in recognising the increasing problem of people driving whist banned or who have never had a licence. Those people currently have no incentive to comply because they simply buy a banger for cash. Never register it. Change the plates to get past ANPR and only ever get caught by observant coppers. Even then they have no stake in the car and just abandon it and are inclined to run from the cops because unless they are actually caught and detained they are untraceable. And for that they currently get a small fine.

Now they get a custodial sentence.

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