Causing Death By Dangerous Driving, Inconsiderate Or Careless Driving - New Road Traffic Law In UK
A new motoring offence of “Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving” was added to UK law. Anyone convicted of this offence encounters a prison sentence of up to five years as well as disqualification from driving. This new law is considered to be highly significant. For the first time a person guilty of traveling below the standard anticipated of a reasonably able driver which results in an accident and a death can receive a prison phrase.
Prior to this offence the criminal prosecution would need to prove dangerous driving to permit the court to have the option of a prison sentence. The weight of evidence needed to prove dangerous driving could be considerable. In 2004 there were approximately Three,500 people killed on UK streets and only 406 prosecutions for causing death by dangerous driving. It is estimated that currently just one in ten fatalities caused on United kingdom roads result in a criminal prosecution for causing dying by dangerous driving. This is right down to the definition of dangerous driving and the degree of bad driving that is needed to be shown to substantiate such a prosecution.
Many cases will now be prosecuted underneath the new legislation and lots of will result in prison sentence being imposed, exactly where previously such a sentence was not possible. This new legislation will create something of a dilemma for the legal courts however. Should they phrase on the degree of criminality or on the consequences of the offending? Say a driver committed a minor mistake such as failing to observe a cyclist whenever pulling out of a 4 way stop, however this error resulted in the death of the cyclist. The degree of criminality is low however the consequence of the offence is high. Should the driver be sent to prison?
Surprisingly the magistrates court possess yet to be given any kind of guidance in the brand new magistrates court sentencing guidelines issued on August Fourth 2008 and will therefore have to look to installments of causing death through dangerous driving for any guidance.
Over the years UK courts possess moved towards looking at the consequences of the traveling and away from the criminality or even level of driving when considering sentencing, although it is fair to say it is still the balancing act.
The reason the courts have relocated towards taking much more account of the outcome is to act as a deterrent and was summed up by the then attorney general in 2006 as he said “This court has stated many times that a automobile driven dangerously amounts to a lethal weapon. It can and does kill and that is why custody is almost always inevitable.”
The actual deterrent message is apparent and it seems the government is reinstating the deterrent message by presenting the new law.
Just about all drivers in the UK should now be aware that a momentary lapse of focus could result in not just the death of some other but also the imprisonment involving ourselves.