New government proposals make a move towards life sentences for drivers who kill while using mobile phones06 December 2016
As part of the plans the public is being encouraged to voice its opinion on the proposed changes in a three-month consultation
Road users who cause a fatal accident as a result of using a mobile phone when driving could receive a life sentence under new government proposals.
The plans, which coincide with a three-month consultation aimed at gauging public opinion on penalties for dangerous driving, suggest that the current maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment for death by dangerous driving should be increased to a life sentence.
It is also seeking to create new legislation for causing serious injury by careless driving, which will hold a maximum sentence of three years.
The government plans follow a number of recent high profile driving offences. Earlier this year lorry driver, Tomasz Kroker, was sent to prison for 10 years after his use of a mobile phone behind the wheel caused the death of four people. Another lorry driver, Keith Mees, was also sent to prison after he drove his HGV into a queue of traffic as he was sending a Facebook message. Two men were crushed to death in the accident.
In 2015, there were 1,732 fatalities and more than 22,000 serious injuries on the roads, many of which were caused by a lack of concentration behind the wheel.
A recent survey by UK road safety charity IAM RoadSmart found that drivers using their mobiles phones was the biggest safety concern for other road users, with 86% believing that the number of people using mobile phones while driving has increased since 2013.
David Robinson, specialist road traffic collision and serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “We have worked with countless families whose loved ones have died or sustained serious injuries as a result of a road traffic collision, and we know that the use of a mobile phone when driving is a major cause of this.
“It’s quite incredulous that despite the risks of using a mobile phone behind the wheel being widely communicated to the public, there still remains a large number of people ignoring the warnings and putting themselves and others at risk.
“We encourage members of the public to take part in the consultation and voice their concerns so that the government fully understands the extent of the problem and implements tougher laws on dangerous drivers. Maybe then we will see a reduction in the tragic number of unnecessary deaths and injuries caused as a result of road traffic accidents.”
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