Disqualified drivers who cause death on the roads face lengthier sentences, under tough new measures introduced by the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling.
The changes – which are expected to come into force in early 2015 – including a new offence of causing serious injury while disqualified. Drivers convicted of this new offence can expect a four-year prison sentence.
Banned drivers found guilty of causing death on the roads will face prison for up to ten years, a five-fold increase over the current two-year term. There has been a widespread call for tougher sentences following the death of Ross and Claire Simons in 2013. They were riding a tandem near Bristol when they were struck by a car driven by Nicky Lovell – who had a staggering sixty nine previous convictions. Eleven of these were for driving whilst disqualified and four for dangerous driving. Lovell pleaded guilty on two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one of driving while disqualified. He was sentenced to a total of ten years and six months in prison, this for taking two lives. Not surprising that a petition handed in to Downing Street contained more than 15,000 signatures demanding longer sentences for such offences.
The law will apply in England, Scotland and Wales. Anyone found guilty of driving while disqualified or attempting to drive while disqualified will receive six points on their licence.
2012 saw 8,200 people convicted of driving while disqualified, with 16 drivers prosecuted for causing death by driving whilst disqualified, unlicensed or uninsured: of these thirteen drivers were jailed.
The government is also promising a review of all driving offences and penalties, including plans to tackle the growing number of uninsured and unlicensed drivers.
Chris Grayling said “I want to make our roads safer and ensure people who cause harm face tough penalties. Disqualified drivers should not be on our roads for good reason. Those who clearly choose to defy a ban imposed by a court and go on to destroy innocent lives must face serious consequences for the terrible impact of their actions. We are sending a clear message that anyone who does will face much tougher punishment”
Driving whilst banned is not only stupid – it is selfish. The vehicle cannot be insured – so this compounds the crime, and should an accident occur the driver is without cover, and driving illegally from this perspective also. If you have any doubts as to the legality of driving on the roads, do not do it until you have professional advice – and make sure you are insured correctly.