Right Time To Consider Tougher Sentences For Fatal Crashes

New Brake Survey Sees Strong Support For Changes

15.07.2016

Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Leading serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have called it ‘the right time to consider whether tougher sentences are needed for criminal drivers who kill’.

The national law firm are backing road safety charity Brake’s brand new campaign ‘Roads to Justice’ which aims to highlight the tragic impact speeding or drink and drug driving regularly has on the victim and their families’ lives.

As part of the campaign the charity conducted a survey, which found that most people back much tougher sentences for all criminal drivers who kill.

Two-thirds of people (66%) questioned think those convicted should be jailed for at least 10 years. At present almost half of drivers convicted of a death on the road are not jailed at all and the average prison sentence for a driver who has killed someone is less than four years.

The survey also revealed 91% of people questioned agree that if someone causes a fatal crash when they get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, they should be charged with manslaughter.

Brake is now calling on the government to immediately review guidelines for both charging and sentencing criminal drivers and more than 7000 people have already signed their petition.

National law firm Irwin Mitchell have been running their #SaferJourneys campaign since September with the aim of reducing the number of accidents on the road through a sensible and switched-on approach to safety.

Serious injury and road safety specialist Claire Newstead, supports Brake’s campaign and feels more must be done to raise awareness of the dangers of breaking the law when driving.


Expert Opinion
“Brake’s survey shows that there is clear support for the introduction of stronger penalties and this feels like the right time for the Government to review their guidelines.

“We know from the work we do that in fatal crashes the victim receives the harshest punishment possible and their family are left gripped by sadness and loss due to an incident that their loved one was powerless to avoid.

“The question is whether the person responsible for the incident, currently receives a fair punishment for the crime or if the sentencing should be increased.

“What cannot be debated is the fact that there are still too many crashes involving speeding drivers and those under the influence of drinks and drugs and more must be done to raise awareness of the potentially life changing consequences of a serious collision.

“There may be many reasons as to why motorists break the law in the first place but if stronger charges and tougher sentences deter them and helps reduce the number of fatal crashes then it makes sense to review the current laws.

“As part of our #SaferJourneys campaign, we aim to make the road a safer place for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and drivers. If changes in sentencing can help reduce the number of avoidable deaths, than surely it can only be seen as a positive.”
Claire Newstead, Partner