Bring in manslaughter charges for criminal drivers who kill, campaigners say
Nine out of ten people in the South East want drivers who cause a fatal accident while drunk or on drugs to be charged with manslaughter.
A survey by road safety charity Brake for its Roads to Justice campaign revealed that, in the South East:
- 93 per cent of people think drivers on drink or drugs who kill should be charged with manslaughter
- 71 per cent of people believe drivers who kill should be jailed for a minimum of ten years
- 84 per cent of people think drivers who kill while breaking laws should be charged with dangerous and not careless driving
A statement from Brake said: “93 per cent of people questioned in your region agreed that if someone causes a fatal crash when they get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, they should be charged with manslaughter. That carries a possible life sentence.
“At present people can either be charged with causing death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs. Sentences for those charges range between 26 weeks and 14 years, though sentences at the higher end of the range are rarely handed out.
“The study also reveals most people back much tougher sentences for all criminal killer drivers. More than two thirds (71 per cent) of those questioned think those convicted should be jailed for at least ten years.
“More than half of people asked said the sentence for killing someone in a crash should be at least 15 years and almost a quarter (23.2 per cent) think drivers who kill should be jailed for life. At present almost half of drivers convicted of killing are not jailed at all. The average prison sentence for a driver who has killed someone is under four years.
“Brake is now calling on the government to immediately review guidelines for both charging and sentencing criminal drivers.
“In 2014 176 people were charged with ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ and 205 were charged with ‘causing death by careless driving’. Brake would argue that all careless driving is dangerous, as if you are not giving your full attention to the road and the task, you are more likely to crash and that crash could be fatal.”
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