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Dangerous drivers who kill are set to face life in prison

Justice minister says "killer drivers ruin lives" as proposals to scrap limit on sentencing emerge from the Ministry of Justice...

Life in prison is set to replace the 14-year sentencing upper limit for drivers found guilty of causing death by dangerous or by driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Proposals under consultation at the Ministry of Justice would see drivers who cause death by speeding, street racing, or while using a mobile phone facing the same possible penalty as individuals charged with manslaughter.

Drivers charged with causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs could be handed sentences up to a life sentence.

It is worth noting that under certain circumstances these charges are already used by courts. This move looks to widen the scope of sentencing to give courts more sentencing tools which the department says will increase the average length of death by dangerous driving sentence from the 2015 average of 45.8 months.

>Read more: Italian laws get tougher on killer drivers

Justice minister Sam Gyimah says that the change in ruling is to ensure that the punishments given to drivers who kill fit the crimes. "Killer drivers ruin lives," Gyimah said. "It's impossible to compensate for the death of a loved one, we are determined to make sure the punishment fits the crime."

The proposals being put forward by the Ministry of Justice also include creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving. That offence would carry a maximum sentence of three years.

This consultation follows public calls earlier this year for law-breaking drivers who kill others on the road - whether they're cyclists, other drivers or pedestrians - to be charged with manslaughter.

>Read more: Public supports tougher criminal driving sentences

Road safety charity Brake commissioned the survey in which nine out of ten respondents called for harsher punishment for drivers.

The department also said that this consultation also delivered on the government's pledge to revise the sentencing powers given to courts with regard to the most serious driving offences.


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