Get life for a life,

say most drivers

MORE THAN half of British motorists want to see drivers who kill because of their dangerous driving given life sentences.

That's the conclusion of a survey by the UK's biggest road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, which has shown that road users want the law to be far stricter on those who cause death and serious injury when driving.

The survey of nearly 2,000 road users revealed that almost half of those questioned felt that the current maximum penalty of 14 years in jail for causing death by dangerous driving wasn't nearly high enough.

And when asked if the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving should be increased to life imprisonment over 51 per cent either agreed or agreed strongly.

Under plans put forward by ministers in December, dangerous drivers who kill could face life sentences. It added dangerous drivers causing death by speeding, street racing or while on a mobile phone are among those now facing the same sentences as those charged with manslaughter.

Offenders who cause death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs could also be handed life sentences - an increase on the current 14 year upper limit.

Nearly 80 per cent of people surveyed by IAM RoadSmart agreed there should also be a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.

And more than half of them (56 per cent) said the maximum penalty should be between one and five years in prison; some 44 per cent went further and felt the maximum penalty should be more than five years.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: "Our survey shows that on the very emotive issue of those who cause death by driving offences, there is public support for tougher sentencing and that many feel the law simply doesn't go far enough.

"Holding a driving licence should be considered a privilege, not a right - and those that fail dangerously to reach the highest standards should have that right taken away.

"It is very clear that in the minds of many of the UK public, the punishment often does not fit the crime - and British people think the law should reflect that in a far more fitting and appropriate way.

"We want to see the current guidelines applied consistently by the courts first. In practice the current maximum of 14 years in prison for causing death by dangerous driving is rarely used which is deeply upsetting for the families of victims. There is no guarantee a higher maximum would be used either.

"Until this happens, we cannot be sure that tougher sentencing would make a marked difference in the way people act behind the wheel."

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