MP: Raise dangerous driving penalty

The maximum sentence for dangerous driving should be increased from two years to seven years to give victims justice, a Labour MP said.

Karl Turner, a former barrister, called for a change in the law because judges were not able to pass sentences that reflected the injuries and distress caused by dangerous drivers.

He told MPs: “The sentences handed down by judges leave victims feeling let down by the justice system when the offender is released from prison after a few months, by which time the victims have not even started to come to terms with the damage the offender has caused.”

Dangerous drivers had left people “brain damaged, paralysed or with amputations” but “the law does not currently allow the sentencing judge discretion to provide anything like the result victims might expect”.

If a victim is killed by a dangerous driver the maximum sentence is 14 years, but in cases where severe injury is caused the upper limit is two years.

Mr Turner warned that sentences would be further reduced under Government plans to increase the reduction in a jail term received for pleading guilty from a third to a half.

“This means that even the worst example of dangerous driving will only attract a starting point of 12 months,” he said.

Mr Turner’s Dangerous Driving (Maximum Sentence) Bill, which has cross-party support and the backing of campaigners and motoring groups, was given an unopposed first reading but stands little chance of making further progress.

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