Closed petition Tougher sentences for hit and run drivers who cause death
The maximum penalty for failure to stop after an incident is points and a 6-month custodial sentence. Causing death by careless/dangerous driving is between 5-14 yrs. The sentence for failing to stop after a fatal collision must be increased.
Our sons, Matt aged 25 & Paul aged 23, were both killed on their motorbikes just 9 months apart. Both drivers fled the scene. We are not the only families to have suffered this tragedy or endure unjust sentencing. We at the Roads Injustice Project want the laws changed as we feel they are both outdated and unfair. Tougher sentences are needed for the life sentence we have to deal with every single day from the loss of our son's due to the actions of somebody else.
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This response was given on 28 August 2020
It is wholly irresponsible for drivers to fail to stop and report an incident. However, the offence of failing to stop should not be used to punish an offender for a serious, but not proven, offence.
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We were very sorry to read of the deaths of Matt and Paul; our sympathies are with their families and friends.
Failure to stop and report offences are often referred to as “hit and run” but this is not an accurate reflection of the offence. The offence is designed to deal with the behaviour relating to the failure to stop, not to provide an alternative route to punish an offender for a more serious, but not proven, offence.
The vast majority of the 2,820 convictions in 2019 for failure to stop and report offences involve low level traffic incidents where, for example, a driver clips the wing mirror of another vehicle in a narrow street. This is reflected in current sentencing practice where by far the most common sentence for this offence is a fine. In a small number of cases the failure to stop or report may be related to an event which leads to the death or serious injury of another person. Where there is evidence that the driver caused harm, there is a range of offences for which the driver may be charged including causing death or serious injury from dangerous or careless driving and the courts will treat the failure to stop as a further and aggravating factor in the sentencing decision. Where the driver takes action to avoid detection this may amount to perverting the course of justice, an offence which carries a life sentence maximum.
Ministry of Justice
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MPs to debate the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill
MPs will debate the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill on Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 March in the main House of Commons chamber.
This is a Second Reading debate, where Members debate the general principles of the Bill. At the end of the debate, the Commons decides whether the Bill should be given its second reading, meaning it can proceed to the next stage.
The Government has said that this Bill will ensure the courts have the powers they need to deal with those drivers who kill by dangerous driving or by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, as no current offence adequately punishes the serious and potentially life changing injuries that can result from careless driving.
You can read the Government's fact sheet about this Bill's provisions on road traffic offences here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/police-crime-sentencing-and-courts-bill-2021-factsheets/police-crime-sentencing-and-courts-bill-2021-road-traffic-offences-factsheet
Watch the debate, which should start at approximately 3.30pm on Monday and 12.30pm on Tuesday, here:
You'll be able to read a transcript of the debates a few hours after they happen: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons
Find out more about Second Readings here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/passage-bill/lords/lrds-commons-second-reading/
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