If government officials and road safety advocates get their way, causing death by dangerous driving may soon be a life sentence in the UK. At the moment, the offense carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment but the BBC reports that a large majority of offenders only serve less than half the time.
UK Law defines dangerous driving as “the way he/she drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous” or “if it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving the vehicle in its current state (for the purpose of the determination of which regard may be had to anything attached to or carried on or in it, and to the manner in which it is attached or carried) would be dangerous”.
Examples of dangerous driving includes driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, excessive speeding, street racing, the use of cellphones while driving and driving a vehicle unfit for use. With this new proposal, the UK government wants to put causing death by dangerous driving and the lesser offense of causing death by careless driving on the same level as manslaughter.
On top of that, there is also another proposal to charge dangerous drivers who cause serious physical injury. If passed as a law, this new offense carries a maximum sentence of three years. Officials are currently discussing how to go about with the proposal and will conclude the consultation process by February 2017.