The Government has announced this month that drivers who cause death or serious injuries on the roads when they have been banned from driving will face longer jail sentences.
The new law means that disqualified drivers will face up to 10 years imprisonment if they cause death and up to a 4 year term if they cause serious injury. This is a sizeable increase from the current sentence of 2 years imprisonment for causing a death while disqualified, whilst there is in fact no specific offence yet for causing a serious injury while disqualified.
The tougher measures are expected to come into force early 2015 and have been introduced to reflect the overwhelming impact on victims and their families.
The reforms follow a campaign by the victims of disqualified drivers who uncovered that, in 2011, 153 of the 408 people convicted of causing death or bodily harm whilst disqualified avoided a prison sentence.
According to Ministry of Justice figures, around 8,200 people were convicted for driving while disqualified in 2012 and 13 convictions were made for causing a death by driving when disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:
‘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.’
The reforms are part of wider review of driving offences, which will be carried out by the Government in the coming months and published in due course.
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