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Drivers face stricter sentences for careless driving

Drivers who cause death due to careless driving could face tougher sentences if the Government backs a new Bill in Parliament.

Sally Keeble, Labour MP for Northampton North, has introduced a Bill that would create a new offence of ‘causing death by careless driving’.

The RAC Foundation has argued the need for the creation of this new offence. The need for a specific offence arises as a result of the disparity between the offences of careless and dangerous driving, both in term of the burden of proof and the sentencing option available to courts following conviction.

Kevin Delaney, traffic and road safety manager of the RAC Foundation, said: "The offence of causing death by dangerous driving is extremely difficult to prove and prosecutions tend to be brought only in the most extreme cases of grossly bad driving.

"Prosecutors tend to charge with the lesser offence of ‘careless driving’, or accept a plea of guilty to ‘careless driving.’ This often leaves relatives feeling that justice has not been done following the death of a loved one.”

The RAC Foundation believes that having an offence of causing death by careless driving on the statute books would help bridge the gap by allowing prosecutors to bring a charge appropriate to the level of bad driving; which recognises the death of a third party - and which carries a range of penalties appropriate to the gravity of the offence.

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