Public support for longer sentences for dangerous driving convictions Public support for longer sentences for dangerous driving convictions

A Private Members’ Bill is urging politicians to extend the maximum sentence for dangerous driving. It follows former Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to introduce the ‘Violet-Grace Law’ — named in memory of a four-year-old child who was killed by a motorist driving at over 80mph in a 30mph zone.
The offender was jailed for nine years and four months in 2017 but may be released as early as next year.
Police forces in England and Wales recorded 555 deaths and serious injuries because of dangerous driving in the year to March 2020.
In an RAC survey, almost two thirds (65%) of motorists want to see those that cause death by dangerous driving given a sentence lasting more than 14 years.
Some 40% of drivers believe courts should have the power to hand out life sentences for the crime, while 25% consider a sentence between 15 years and life to be more suitable.
Just 16% felt the current maximum term of 14 years is sufficient, while 18% are unsure whether the punishment should change, according to the survey of 2,800 drivers.
RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “Drivers we surveyed are crystal clear in their belief that the current maximum sentence that courts can hand down for causing death by dangerous driving is insufficient and doesn’t reflect just how devasting these crimes are.”
He added: “While Britain might have some of the safest roads in Europe, it is an horrendous thought that each year more than 500 drivers in England and Wales are convicted of killing others as a result of their decision to drive dangerously.
“Permitting courts to issue much tougher sentences will send a strong message to motorists and will go some way towards reassuring families of victims killed in collisions that the law is on their side.”
The next stage for this Bill, Second Reading, is scheduled to take place in early November.