AA Comment

New sentencing guidelines

15 July 2008

emergency services attending a car crash

Following a consultation launched in January the Sentencing Guidelines Council has published new guidance for courts in England and Wales when sentencing cases where death results from the misuse of a car.

These cases can involve some of the most difficult sentencing decisions because the level of culpability can range from flagrant disregard of the safety of other road users to a terrible moment of inattention.

Offences covered

  • Causing death by dangerous driving
    Jailed for at least seven years but up to 14 for driving involving a number of serious factors.
  • Causing death by careless driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    Minimum three years in prison.
  • Causing death by careless driving
    Guidance ranges from two years community service where there was a momentary lapse of attention to 3 years or more if their is a combination of aggravating factors.
  • Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers
    Maximum two years in prison.

AA comment

AA president, Edmund King, broadly welcomed the new guidelines.

" We must reduce the number of wasted lives lost through dangerous and careless driving. Hopefully the threat of longer prison sentences will concentrate the minds of motorists and help them realise the dire consequences of even a momentary lapse of concentration at the wheel.

"To avoid facing the prospect of a 7 year prison spell motorists must stop using hand-held mobiles at the wheel. It is better to wait 7 minutes to stop safely and make that call, rather than spending 7 years regretting the consequences of your actions.

" It would help if we had more traffic police to act as a deterrent to stop these offences taking place before they end in death and tragedy"

AA Public Affairs


15 July 2008