Drivers who kill will face life prison sentence under new laws

GETTY- STOCKKiller drivers under the influence will face life behind bars

Drivers in the United Kingdom who cause death by unsafe driving could face life in prison under new laws to be announced by the government, British media reported on Sunday (Oct 15).

The consultation sought views on whether current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased and received more than 1,000 replies in just three days when launched in December previous year - rising to more than 9,000 when it closed in February.

Asked what she would say to otherwise normal people who may occasionally use a mobile phone while driving, she said: "Don't use it and don't speed and don't drink and be grateful you can drive".

The Department for Transport launched an urgent review last month to consider whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or unsafe driving should be introduced for cyclists. A new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will carry a jail sentence.

Over the previous 12 months, 157 people were convicted and sentenced for causing deathby risky driving, and a further 31 for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said yesterday the move - to put the offence of causing death by unsafe driving on a par with manslaughter - was part of wider Government plan to clamp down on criminal behaviour on our roads.

Meanwhile, anyone who causes a fatal crash while using a mobile phone, street racing or speeding could now face prison sentences to the equivalent of manslaughter - in other words anything up to 14 years.

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The plans have been welcomed by some, including representatives of bereaved families.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said 90% of respondents to the public consultation backed the creation of the new offence and 70% were in favour of increasing terms for laws that already existed.

Road safety charity Brake said that the announcement of rules changes was a "major victory" for the victims of road crime. "I think it might just take that one person to get the life imprisonment if some fatality occurs then people will start to realize this is something serious".

"It's fantastic. About time too", she told Sky News. The driver was sentenced to a custodial sentence of 4 years and was released after serving only 2 years of that sentence.

Brake has argued that penalties faced by drivers who kill and injure are "grossly inadequate" and cause added anguish to their families.

Tory MP Heidi Allen has been campaigning for life sentences for death by unsafe driving.

Mr Scott argued that the announcement was a "crowd-pleasing gesture" and that life sentences "should be reserved for the most serious offences".

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