Public backs life behind bars for killer drivers in Britain


LONDON, Oct. 16 — Motorists who cause death by dangerous driving
face life in prison, Britain’s Ministry of Justice (MOJ) announced Sunday.

The toughest-ever punishments are being introduced following a public
consultation exercise by the government which called for harsher penalties
for people who drive irresponsibly and devastate lives. Life sentences, the
most severe punishment in British law, will be introduced for causing death
by dangerous driving, and for careless drivers who kill while under the
influence of drink or drugs.There will also be new offence of causing
serious injury through careless driving, said the MOJ.

A campaign for life behind bars has been led by families of victims of
people killed by drivers speeding, racing on the roads or using cellphone
while behind the steering wheel. The current maximum sentence is 14 years
in prison. The move comes after an overwhelming response to a
government consultation which revealed substantial backing for the plans
from a wide range of people including victims, bereaved families and road
safety experts. Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “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.” Raab said the changes in the law will reflect the
seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims.

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. Around 70 percent of
responses to the government consultation called for the maximum penalty to
be increased to life imprisonment. The MOJ said the government is now
planning to consider increasing minimum driving bans for drivers convicted
of causing serious death. The legislation for the new tougher penalties
will now go before parliament as soon as possible to bring them into
operation in the courts. – XINHUA