Killer drivers face life sentences under new legislation to be brought in across Britain.
The UK government has announced maximum sentences for drivers who cause death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone will be increased from 14 years to life, in line with the maximum sentence for manslaughter.
Offenders who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will also face life sentences, and a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will be created.
The announcement delivers on a government pledge to consider the sentencing powers available to the courts for the most serious driving offences, and follows a wide-ranging government consultation.
Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “We’ve taken a long hard look at driving sentences, and we received 9,000 submissions to our consultation. Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.”
He added: “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.”
Lord Duncan, parliamentary under secretary of state in the Scotland Office, said: “Dangerous and careless driving remains a real problem in Scotland. Over the past five years alone there have been 166 convictions for causing death by dangerous driving. That is why the UK Government is introducing these tougher sentences which will address these senseless crimes that devastate far too many families each year.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish government added: “These changes will provide courts in Scotland with additional sentencing options, including for the most serious cases of death by dangerous driving.”