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#295404 - 27th Feb 2009 1:49pm Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill
Wench Offline

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Motorists who kill while avoidably distracted at the wheel will face prison under new careless driving laws which came into force on Monday 18 August 2008.

The new offences will, for the first time, allow courts to imprison drivers who cause deaths by not paying due care to the road, or to other road users. They are designed to plug the gap in current legislation and so prevent drivers who kill walking away from court with just a fine.

Avoidable distractions which courts will consider when sentencing motorists who have killed include:

using a mobile phone (calling or texting)
drinking and eating
applying make-up
anything else which takes their attention away from the road and which a court judges to have been an avoidable distraction.

The new laws will also penalise uninsured, disqualified or unlicensed drivers who kill.

The new offences will carry custodial sentences of:

*up to five years for causing death by careless driving

*up to two years for causing death by driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured.

Prior to the introduction of these new laws, the maximum sentence for those convicted of causing death by careless, uninsured or unlicensed driving was a maximum £5,000 fine and penalty licence points.

Click to reveal..
Justice Minister Maria Eagle said:

'Drivers who kill through carelessness will no longer be able to walk away from court with just a fine. Neither should uninsured or unlicensed drivers who deliberately flout the law. Driving requires full concentration at all times. A moment's distraction can make the difference between life and death.'

Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said:

'The government is committed to continually improving safety on Britain's roads. Under the Road Safety Act we have already brought in tougher penalties for drivers who use hand-held mobile phones at the wheel and the introduction of these new offences today is the latest step to tackle bad driving and further improve safety on our roads. Last year the number of people killed fell below 3,000 for the first time since records began in 1926 but eight people are still dying on the roads each day. Where carelessness Ė or an uninsured, disqualified or unlicensed driver Ė causes a death it is right that the driver should face tough penalties.'

Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) spokesman on roads policing and Deputy Chief Constable Gwent Police Mick Giannasi said:

'Careless drivers put themselves and others at risk every time they get behind the wheel of a car. Despite good progress in recent years to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the UK's roads, more can be done to prevent the unnecessary loss of life. The introduction of this legislation will hit home the message that driving is a hazardous activity that requires total concentration. Allowing distractions to affect your standard of driving is not acceptable and will now be more appropriately punished under the law.'


The independent Sentencing Guidelines Council published definitive guidelines on sentencing for death by driving offences in July of last year. If you wish to view these, then click here
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#298388 - 7th Mar 2009 10:57am Re: Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill [Re: Wench]
Mark Offline


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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
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IMO if found guilty of either of the above you should
be put in court and charged for manslaughter.

Its always been the easiest way to kill some one and walk away.
Which only angers a a bereaved family.

We all know that when we get behind the wheel of a car
we can either get there safely or Turn the car into a Killing Machine.

Its a loaded gun waiting to go off.
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#298517 - 8th Mar 2009 3:46am Re: Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill [Re: Mark]
diggingdeeper Offline

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Originally Posted By: Mark
IMO if found guilty of either of the above you should
be put in court and charged for manslaughter.


Trying not to be too contravercial (spell?) but everybody makes mistakes while driving, it is pure chance whether someone gets killed when you make that mistake. Someone can make a huge mistake and nobody notices, someone else can make a much smaller mistake and kill someone.

Some people intentionally drive badly, tailgaters etc they should be dealt with harshly

Shouldn't the outcome depend on your actions, not the result of your actions? Obviously it should take into account the likelyhood of your actions causing death/damage etc.
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#298519 - 8th Mar 2009 8:38am Re: Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill [Re: diggingdeeper]
bert1 Offline

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Registered: 27th Nov 2008
Posts: 7947
Loc: tranmere
We can all make mistakes, whether it be driving or any other part of every day life, its human nature and that is something that will never go away. There is a vast difference between a mistake and deliberately flaunting a law that is designed to preserve the well being and lives of other road users and the pedestrian. With all the advertising which takes place in this country on the Do's and don'ts of driving no one can be excused for breaking those laws Jacci has outlined above. My only worry is the up to 5 years sentencing for taking someones life for those offences, that is surely not enough, were is the deterrent in that, perhaps those sort of sentences should be handed out even without killing someone. Because there's a car involved we do get away with murder.


Edited by bert1 (8th Mar 2009 8:40am)
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#298529 - 8th Mar 2009 10:06am Re: Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill [Re: bert1]
Beemertastic Offline
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Registered: 16th Oct 2007
Posts: 1113
Loc: wirral
hmm...states have some bizaree law..homicide with a motor vehicle or simialr...which it is really.

the careless aspect is defined as "more than a momentary lapse of concentration...."

yes..we all do make mistakes now and then..we are human and the law recognises that...but to make a definitve and avoidable decision not to pay attention to the road eg "put make up on whlst driving..." thats what the law is trying to stop.

A life taken in any way such as a fatal rtc can never be replaced...
and no prison term can replace that life....but it may deter some people...and possibly save lives...
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#298554 - 8th Mar 2009 11:56am Re: Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill [Re: Beemertastic]
Wench Offline

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Registered: 9th Aug 2008
Posts: 8616
Loc: Second Circle of Hell.
I think perhaps that the difference will come down to 3 words - careless, dangerous and reckless.

In the Motor Car Act (1903), the offence of reckless driving was introduced. In the Road Traffic Act (1930), there were two offences: 'Reckless or Dangerous Driving' and 'Careless Driving'. In 1956, a third offence of 'Causing Death by Reckless or Dangerous Driving' was introduced, to avoid having to employ the charge of manslaughter in these cases. In the Criminal Law Act (1977) the offences of 'Reckless or Dangerous' were re-worded as simply 'Reckless'.

Now here lies the problem! The Prosecution have to "prove" recklessness i.e. the driver's state of mind at the time. There was a Report made about this (which I won't bore you all with - it's called the North Report if you're really interested) which led to changes being made.

That's why offences relating to bad driving were reformulated in the Road Traffic Act (1991), to more readily identify and punish dangerous drivers. The earlier offences of 'Reckless Driving' and 'Causing Death by Reckless Driving' were replaced by 'Dangerous Driving' and 'Causing Death by Dangerous Driving'. There is no offence of Causing Death by Careless Driving (except where alcohol or drugs are involved). These changes were intended to move the emphasis from the driver's state of mind to the objective quality of the driving.

The much higher penalty for Dangerous Driving where a death results, has caused some debate on how far the system does (or should) focus on the standard of the driving alone, as opposed to the consequences. The issue is getting to the actual "bare bones" as opposed to the emotive side of things.

Further argument centres on whether the 'deliberate' nature of some kinds of bad driving should attract the highest penalties, or whether the potential danger should be the key issue, regardless of the actual consequences.

Personally, I can't see the maximum sentence being meted out. The maximum sentences are rarely used as it is. JMPO, but I think that's part of the problem!
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#298585 - 8th Mar 2009 2:08pm Re: Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill [Re: Wench]
diggingdeeper Offline

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Registered: 9th Jul 2008
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Loc: Birkenhead
Thanks PJ
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#298587 - 8th Mar 2009 2:11pm Re: Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill [Re: diggingdeeper]
Wench Offline

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Registered: 9th Aug 2008
Posts: 8616
Loc: Second Circle of Hell.
Ever thought of crossing to the dark side and doing law DD raftl
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Sometimes Police Officers give more than just speeding tickets!

Itís hard to be fit as a fiddle when youíre shaped like a cello!

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#298589 - 8th Mar 2009 2:16pm Re: Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill [Re: Wench]
diggingdeeper Offline

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Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 10691
Loc: Birkenhead
Too honest mate!
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In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. Socrates

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#298592 - 8th Mar 2009 2:29pm Re: Five years in Prison for careless drivers who kill [Re: diggingdeeper]
Wench Offline

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Registered: 9th Aug 2008
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Loc: Second Circle of Hell.
Same here, hence I want out of Defence raftl
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Sometimes Police Officers give more than just speeding tickets!

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