Closed petition Ryan's Law: Widen definition of 'death by dangerous driving'

The offence of causing 'death by dangerous driving' should be widened to include: failure to stop, call 999 and render aid on scene until further help arrives.

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A hit & run driver left my brother Ryan in the road & he died. Hiding for 36 hours, charged with failure to stop, the driver received a suspended sentence/fine. Failure to stop/careless driving offers lighter custodial sentences & focuses on fines/suspensions. Drivers should STOP, ring 999 & render AID until help arrives. If they do not they should face charges for death by dangerous driving. The Law should require this & aim to reduce the number of hit & runs & roadside deaths. With this definition, a minimum 10 years-max life sentence, citizens would be better protected.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 15 November 2021

Watch the petition 'Ryan's Law: Widen definition of 'death by dangerous driving'' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 24 March 2021

It is unacceptable for drivers to fail to stop and report an incident. However, the offence should not be used to punish an offender for a serious, but unproven, offence.

Read the response in full

Ministers are aware of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Ryan Saltern and extend their sympathy to family 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 behaviour relating to failing to stop, not as an alternative route to punish an offender for a more serious, but unproven offence.

The vast majority of failure to stop and report offences involve low level traffic incidents, for example where a driver clips the wing mirror of another vehicle in a narrow street.

In a small number of cases, the failure to stop or report may be related to an incident which leads to the death or serious injury of another person. Where there is evidence 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. In these cases, the courts will treat the failure to stop as a further aggravating factor in the sentencing decision. Where there is evidence that the driver tried to frustrate justice or avoid detection, they may also be charged with perverting the course of justice, which carries a life sentence as a maximum penalty.

The Government takes this issue seriously. The Department for Transport is looking into the issue of such incidents of failure to stop resulting in death or serious injury, and exploring whether there are further options that can be pursued.

Department for Transport

Other parliamentary business

Meeting with petitioners and Government Minister requested to discuss hit and run offences

MPs on the Petitions Committee have written to the Department for Transport today asking for a meeting between a Government Minister and the families who started petitions calling for tougher sentences on drivers who do not report fatal collisions.

Read the Committee's letter:

In the letter, Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, and Christina Rees MP, who opened the debate on the petitions on Monday 15 November, urge the Minister to learn from the families first-hand about their experiences. The letter suggests this meeting could form part of the wider consultation that the Department is doing on parts of the Road Traffic Act.

The Committee will publish the reply from the Government on its website when it receives it:

You can also follow the Committee on Twitter for updates:

Catch up on the debate on road traffic offences for fatal collisions

You can watch the debate that took place on 15 November on YouTube:

And you can read a transcript of the debate: