Campaign to toughen sentences for dangerous drivers leads to consultation
A campaign to review sentences for dangerous driving, which has seen local support from the family of Sean Morley and Craig Tracey MP, has seen a major breakthrough following Government proposals and a public consultation launched on the issue.
North Warwickshire and Bedworth’s Member of Parliament Craig Tracey has twice raised the issue in Parliament over the last week and met with Justice Secretary Liz Truss to explain that drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol currently having no incentive to stay at the scene or report the accident.
The local MP has worked closely with the family of Sean Morley, a Bedworth student who was tragically killed in a hit and run near his home, to campaign for sentences that fit the crime.
Craig spoke at Justice Department Questions asking:
“I welcome the consultation. Does the Minister agree that it presents the perfect opportunity to close a loophole whereby in the event of a pedestrian being hit by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as happened to my constituent Sean Morley, who was tragically killed as a result, the maximum sentence available for failing to stop and report is just six months, leaving no incentive for the driver to stay around? In Sean’s case, the Crown Prosecution Service and the judge had only the charge of failing to stop available to them, not death by dangerous driving.”
The Minister responded:
“The case to which my hon. Friend refers is truly horrific, and I extend my personal sympathies to Sean Morley’s family. Nothing can compensate for the loss of a loved one by a killer driver who drives irresponsibly. I encourage the family to contribute to the consultation so that we can take their points on board.”
“This consultation is vital in achieving more appropriate sentences for dangerous drivers, particularly those who kill due to their neglect. Residents can engage with the ‘Driving offences and penalties relating to causing death or serious injury’ by visiting: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/driving-offences-causing-death-or-serious-injury/consultation/intro/”
Government proposals which has led to the consultation include:
· Increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life.
· Increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life.
· Creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving with a maximum sentence of three years.
· Increasing minimum driving bans for those convicted of causing death.
The Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Liz Truss MP said, "Craig Tracey MP has been a tireless campaigner calling for tougher penalties for killer drivers. Nothing can compensate for the death of a loved one but the Government wants to make sure the punishment fits the crime. The message is clear - if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads you could face a life sentence."