New legislation that could put drivers behind bars for life for causing death by speeding, street racing or while on a mobile phone has been welcomed by leading road safety charity IAM RoadSmart – but it warned that the threat of jail alone is unlikely to make people drive in a less dangerous way.
The Government launched a consultation on the issue last December, with thousands supporting tougher penalties for the most serious road offences.
IAM RoadSmart’s own survey in February this year (reference 1) found nearly 80% agreed there should be a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving – which is now part of the Government’s plans.
Many respondents in the IAM RoadSmart survey also felt the current maximum penalty of 14 years in jail for causing death by dangerous driving wasn’t nearly high enough; with almost 50% saying the penalty was not set at the right level.
The Government will now proceed with the measures, which will see life sentences introduced for those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.
The issue was brought into sharp focus with the jailing of Tomasz Kroker for 10 years in October 2016. Kroker killed a mother and three children when he was distracted by changing music on his smartphone and ploughed into a line of stationary traffic in his lorry.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “The public has been calling for stricter penalties for those who cause death by driving recklessly, and the moves today by the Government are wholeheartedly welcomed.
“However we feel that visible policing, and a high likelihood of being caught, is the surest way of making people drive better. If people don’t think they will be caught, they simply won’t drive in a safer way.”
Neil added: “It is also vital that courts reflect society’s view on the impact of dangerous driving and use the maximum available sentences – something they have so far not demonstrated on a consistent basis. While a toughening of the law might make people feel better, on its own it is sadly unlikely to reduce the number of cases of really selfish driving which end in tragic results.”
Notes to editors:
Further information from:
IAM RoadSmart press office – 020 8996 9777 – firstname.lastname@example.org
ISDN broadcast lines available
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/IAMRoadSmart
On Twitter: @IAMRoadSmart
IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.
To find out more about IAM RoadSmart products and services visit the new website www.iamroadsmart.com
To find out more about IAM RoadSmart’s Driver Retraining Academy visit www.iamdra.org.uk
To find out the name of your own local IAM RoadSmart group please visit: https://wwwiamroadsmart.com/local-groups