Drivers to face life sentence for death-by-dangerous-driving offences

Drivers who cause death by dangerous driving, or through driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, could face life in prison under plans to increase maximum sentences for such offences.

The Ministry of Justice said drivers who cause death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone behind the wheel could face sentences equivalent to manslaughter.

Following a consultation that closed earlier this year, maximum penalties will also be increased from 14 years to life, and may be applied to drivers found guilty of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink and drugs.

The government also plans to create a new offence of “causing serious injury by careless driving”. Some 90% of the 9,000 people who responded to the consultation supported this.

Justice minister Dominic Raab said: “We will introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, punishable by imprisonment, to fill a gap in the law and reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case.”

The DfT last month launched a separate review to consider whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for cyclists.