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Drivers who kill others could get life in prison

silver car damaged after crash

Drivers who kill others on the road could face a life sentence under new laws. 

This applies to drivers who were:

  • Speeding 
  • Racing
  • Using a phone
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

The current maximum sentence for each crime is 14 years in prison.

A new proposed offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will be introduced. Without this, drivers can only be convicted of careless driving if they injure someone, meaning they face a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine and possible driving ban. 

These reforms are set to be introduced early next year, having first been announced in 2017. The announcement today (Monday 14 September 2020) outlined the timescales in which the new law would come into effect.

The reforms will apply in England, Scotland and Wales, but not in Northern Ireland as it has separate road safety laws.

Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: "This government has been clear that punishments must fit the crime, but too often families tell us this isn't the case with killer drivers.

"So, today I am announcing that we will bring forward legislation early next year to introduce life sentences for dangerous drivers who kill on our roads, and ensure they feel the full force of the law."

A public consultation carried out in December 2016 received 9,000 responses, with 90% agreeing there should be a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.

The percentage of respondents who supported increasing the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving from the current 14 years to life imprisonment was 70%.

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