Graham calls for tougher laws to tackle criminal driving
Nottingham North MP Graham Allen has added his name to a Bill that seeks to bring in tougher penalties for those who drive dangerously and risk lives of innocent road users and pedestrians.
The Criminal Driving (Justice for Victims) Bill was today presented in the House of Commons by Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, with Graham being the Bill’s co-sponsor. They were joined by 29 further MPs, from all parties, who also backed the Bill.
The Bill has called for increasing the length of sentences, to redefine criminal driving, amend bail conditions, and to enhance investigation standards by both the police and in courts. It also calls for improving the treatment of victims and their families.
According to the most recent government figures, for the year 2014-15, 389 people were killed due to dangerous driving. Campaigners have long argued that sentences are too light and do not reflect the severity of offences.
An ongoing review by the Ministry of Justice into driving offences is expected to produce a consultation document later this year into potential legislative changes that are likely to follow in 2017.
Commenting, Graham Allen MP said:
“I’ve dealt with a number of tragic cases in my time as an MP, it is always a terrible thing and I hope this Bill will bring down the number of people who are killed each year through criminal driving. The victims and their families must always have confidence that our legal system will deliver justice, but time and again they feel let down. I was pleased to co-sponsor the Criminal Driving Bill, which calls for tougher sentences, improving investigations and supporting victims better. The government’s review into driving offences is expected to report later this year, and this is a matter I will be watching closely so we can finally begin to deliver the proper justice that campaigners have long called for.”
Aims of the Criminal Driving (Justice for Victims) Bill:
A Bill to make provision to strengthen penalties related to serious criminal driving offences that lead to serious injury or death; to redefine such offences and amend bail conditions for those charged with them; to enhance the standards of investigation, both by the police and in the Courts, into such offences; to improve the treatment of victims of such offences and their families within the justice system; and for connected purposes.
Key points of the Bill
- Redefining criminal driving
- Replace the charges of Careless Driving and Dangerous Driving with a single charge
- Scrap the charge of causing Death by Careless or Inconsiderate Driving
- Increase the maximum penalty for Dangerous Driving from 2 years to 5 years
- Scrap the charge of Causing Death by Careless Driving under the influence of drink or drugs
- Increase the maximum sentence for Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving from 5 years to 14 years
- Increase the maximum sentence for failing to stop following a fatal or serious injury crash – to bring in much stiffer penalties for hit and run drivers
- Increase the maximum sentence for Causing Death by and Causing Serious Injuries by Driving Unlicensed, Disqualified or Uninsured from 2 years to 14 years
- Tougher sentencing within the range of sentences available
- Change the sentencing guidelines so that sentences for multiple deaths must no longer run concurrently
- Tougher sentences for those driving while disqualified
- Making driving licence suspension an automatic condition of bail in cases of dangerous and careless drivers who have seriously injured or killed
- Victims in cases where charges of criminal driving are brought must be treated as victims of crime until the contrary is proven
- Appropriate investigation of collisions
- Proper implementation of the College of Policing’s Authorised Professional Practice (APP) on investigating road deaths and more rigorous training based on it.
- Implementing the recommendations of the 2002 report by the CPS Inspectorate
- Government should introduce national standards requiring judges and magistrates to receive appropriate training and advice on traffic offences, including discussion of case studies, to encourage them to implement appropriately tough charges and penalties
- An independent and transparent assessment of offender’s punishment
- Release evidence to victims and their families
- Change the rules on how an offender “shows remorse” in a way that can lead to sentence reduction
- The Department for Transport should stop describing incidents of criminal driving as “accidents”
- Police forces should be obliged to implement recommendations of the IPCC