Dangerous drivers who kill are set to face life sentences, under new plans after Peterborough Telegraph campaign

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah and Secretary of State Liz Truss with Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson and the document outlining the new proposals
Justice Minister Sam Gyimah and Secretary of State Liz Truss with Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson and the document outlining the new proposals
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Dangerous drivers who kill are set to face life sentences, under plans put forward by ministers.

Dangerous drivers causing death by speeding, street racing or while on a mobile phone are among those now facing the same sentences as those charged with manslaughter.

Offenders who cause death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs could also be handed life sentences - an increase on the current 14 year upper limit.

It follows the #DriveForJusticecampaign led by the Peterborough Telegraph and its Johnston Press sister titles across the UK.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said: “I congratulate the Peterborough Telegraph for their vital and timely campaign on sentencing for dangerous driving which the Government has listened to.

“For too many years, people have felt that the sentencing guidelines have been too lax - 14 years as a maximum sentence is not sufficient to reflect the tragedy of these often needless deaths, too many of them we have seen in Peterborough and in the Fens area and the upset and trauma that this has caused bereaved families.

“I would urge readers to respond to the consultation announced by the Ministry of Justice and as a local MP, I will lobby for the toughest penalties, which reflect the gravity of the offence.”

New plans come as ministers seek to deter dangerous, criminal behaviour on our roads, and make sure killer drivers face the toughest penalties.

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Killer drivers ruin lives. Their actions cause immeasurable pain to families, who must endure tragic, unnecessary losses.

“While impossible to compensate for the death of a loved one, we are determined to make sure the punishment fits the crime.

“My message is clear – if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads, you could face a life sentence.”

A consultation seeks views on whether the current maximum penalties available to the courts should be increased.

Proposals include:

* increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life

* increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life

* creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a maximum sentence of 3 years

* increasing minimum driving bans for those convicted of causing death

In 2015, 122 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, with a further 21 convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence.

It is hoped the measures will see custodial sentences for causing death by careless or dangerous driving increase – from an average of 45.8 months in 2015.