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Drivers who kill now face life behind bars

Major victory for campaigners - and those who maim will see harsher sentencing too

Drivers who are convicted of killing while drunk, distracted or speeding could face life in prison under new sentencing guidelines drawn up by government ministers.

It brings the sentencing for driving offences in line with manslaughter, with maximum penalties raised from 14 years to life.

Ministers also confirmed that there will be a new offence of causing serious injury through careless driving.

According to the Guardian, last year 157 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, with a further 32 convicted of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Dominic Raab, the justice minister, said: “We’ve taken a long hard look at driving sentences, and we received 9,000 submissions to our consultation.

“Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.

“We will introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, punishable by imprisonment, to fill a gap in the law and reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case.”

The 9,000 consultation respondents were broadly supportive of harsher sentencing, with 70 per cent calling for life imprisonment as a maximum term.

Around 90 per cent of respondents backed the creation of the new offence of serious injury by careless driving.

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for road safety charity Brake, said the move marked a "major victory for the families of victims" and campaigners.

He said: "We applaud the Government for at last recognising that the statute books have been weighed against thousands of families who have had their lives torn apart through the actions of drivers who have flagrantly broken the law."



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