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Killer Drivers To Be Kept Off The Road After Prison

By raccars Published

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Justice Minister, Mike Penning, has confirmed that dangerous drivers who have caused death on the road will be banned from driving for longer, as the government plans a change to the law surrounding their punishment. Currently, those who are imprisoned for causing death by dangerous driving serve their driving bans concurrently with their prison sentence. Effectively, this means that often they are back on the road as soon as or very shortly after being released from prison.

Ministers now plan to change the law so that driving bans will begin after a prison sentence has finished. Judges are also to be given the power to issue longer periods of disqualification than they are currently permitted, to those who cause road deaths. Mr Penning in fact claims that he would like to go further and ensure permanent driving bans for the worst offenders.

There were 430 convictions for death by dangerous driving in 2013 but road safety campaigners have criticised judges for imposing what they consider to be lenient sentences or driving bans upon offenders. While the charges of causing death by dangerous driving or careless driving, as a result of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, carry a maximum sentence of 14 years, two thirds of those convicted serve less than five years in jail. Some drivers who cause death or serious injury escape prison or driving bans altogether.

Figures released by RoadPeace, a campaign group, show that of those motorists who do receive a driving ban, less than 10% are kept off the roads for more than three years, after which they can retake their driving test and get back behind the wheel. Currently, the law states that for those who receive a custodial sentence, their driving ban begins on the same day they enter prison.

While the government has promised longer bans will be brought into effect, the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill must first be passed by Parliament. At the moment the Houses of Lords and Commons are in dispute about the Bill, meaning that the new rules have no imminent start date. To get around the problem, Mr Penning is planning to use facilities accorded by the 2009 Coroners and Justice Act, so that driving bans can begin when offenders leave prison, instead of when their sentence begins. He plans to ensure the new regulations are in effect by Easter.

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