UKIP’s new Home Affairs Spokesman, Jane Collins MEP, has welcomed moves to introduce life sentences for drivers convicted of death by dangerous driving, saying, “this is a victory against light sentences for criminal drivers, but we still have work to do.”
“The fact is, the public will no longer tolerate criminal drivers walking free from court,” Ms Collins added.
Ms Collins comment come after ministers reacted to a long campaign by motoring groups, which highlighted how drivers convicted of death by dangerous driving face an average of four years in prison, while 111 have walked free from court over the last decade (up to 2015).
Speaking of the potential change in sentencing, Ms Collins said, “to me, people choosing to drink or drug drive; who participate in racing; or play with a mobile phone at the wheel; are doing so knowing they have the potential to kill.”
“Therefore, sentencing for crimes of this nature should be no differently from that of involuntary manslaughter.”
“For too long, the sentencing of drivers who have killed through their negligence has not reflected the severity of the crime or how they have changed the lives of victim’s families.
“What justice do families suffering immeasurable pain from the loss of a loved one get, when they see perpetrators given an average of four years in prison, or even have to watch them walk free?
“While the perpetrator can rebuild with their lives relatively quickly, their crime has an impact the families never recover from.
“It is not right, and I am pleased ministers have chosen to address this shortfall in justice.
However, Ms Collins would like to see more done, commenting, “in the run-up to the Christmas period, when incidences of drink or drug driving spike, I would also like to see consideration given to updating other motoring laws.
“Judges sentencing for lesser offences, such as dangerous or careless driving, must be given the flexibility to adequately reflected the often life-changing impact of these crimes.
“Not to do so would provide a loophole in the law that could see more criminal motorists walk free, while their victims are left to count the cost.”