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Call to get tough on killer drivers

21 Mar 2014 at 10:31

Most motorists think people who cause deaths on the roads should be imprisoned for five years or more.

That is the finding of a survey of 1,000 drivers carried out by the road safety charity Brake. It found 82% of those polled want to see tougher sentences for motorists who kill people on the roads of Britain.

It comes after official statistics revealed that just over three fifths of drivers (62%) convicted of causing death through risky driving were jailed as a result and 9% of them received sentences of five years or more.

The survey also suggests that 81% of people feel motorists who take illegal risks while at the wheel and kill or seriously injure others should be classed by law as dangerous drivers and not careless.

Drink or drug-drivers who cause death should be put in prison for at least five years, according to 85% of the poll participants, while 66% and 64% said similar punishments should apply to those who cause death by speeding and mobile phone use while driving, respectively.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "While sentencing clearly has an important part to play in these cases, we feel it is also important to understand the circumstances and contributory factors associated with each to see if there are any common underlying causes which can be addressed to prevent similar deaths occurring in the future.

"These findings come at a time when we know police recorded crime figures for causing death by dangerous driving in the 12 months to September 2013 have increased by a disturbing 38% to 226. In 2012 the figure was 62 lower at 164, according to the Office for National Statistics.

"As these figures relate to recorded crimes it appears that either more death by dangerous driving offences are being committed or the police are treating this type of incident far more seriously than they have done in the past.

"Conviction rates in England and Wales for causing death by dangerous driving in 2012 showed that 163 prosecutions were brought, but only 116 people were found guilty and sentenced. Of those convicted 92% (107) were men and nine were women, meaning men are 12 times more likely to be responsible for causing death by dangerous driving than women."

Copyright Press Association 2014