Public support for harsher punishments for road offences

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A study by Brake has shown huge support to make punishments for driving offences stricter.

91 per cent of those asked said they believed somebody who causes a death by drink or drug driving should face manslaughter charges.

This change could potentially result in life sentences being handed out to those drivers and riders found guilty.

Currently, death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving carry much lighter penalties for those found guilty.

Jail terms can range from 26 weeks to 14 years however longer length sentences are rarely handed down to offenders in the UK.

On average, drivers who kill are sentenced for less than four years in the UK, however Brake’s campaign shows there is public support for lengthening these punishments.

84 per cent of those questioned thought that anyone who kills behind the wheel while breaking laws should be charged with dangerous driving, not careless driving as is often the case at the moment.

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, said:
“People we work with tell us they are left feeling betrayed by the use of inappropriately-termed charges and lenient sentences.

“Drivers who kill while taking illegal risks are too often labelled ‘careless’ in the eyes of the law, and then given insultingly low sentences when their actions can only be described as dangerous and destructive.”

Calls to government

Brake is urging UK government to review its guidelines for charging and sentencing criminal drivers, with a number of bereaved families backing the ‘Roads to Justice’ campaign in light of their own experiences.

The campaign begins today with a number of press calls and interviews taking place around London with bereaved families and supporting MPs on hand.

Perhaps more striking will be the appearance of Joseph Brown-Lartey’s car, which was split in two after a driver ran a red light at 80mph, splitting the car in two and killing Brown-Lartey.

The offending driver was sentenced to six years in prison, a punishment Joseph’s parents described as a slap in the face.

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