Drivers 'escape charges over death'

Some drivers are getting away with causing death by dangerous driving because prosecutors are too cautious, according to inspectors.

These drivers have instead been charged with careless driving, which usually involves a fine and a ban rather that up to 14 years in jail for the more serious charge.

The CPS inspectors said: "There were a few difficult cases where the decision on level of charge was very much in the balance and it could properly have tipped towards the more serious charge.

"Although we would not go so far as to describe them as 'wrong', these cases could also justify being prosecuted as causing death by dangerous driving, rather than the careless driving selected."

Earlier this year, new offences of causing death by careless driving and causing death while driving unlawfully on a road were introduced in an attempt to bridge the gap between existing punishments.

The inspectors recommended changes to guidance for prosecutors on how to make sentencing decisions.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC said new offences which recently came into force had allowed CPS prosecutors "to deal with the criminality involved in road traffic fatality cases in a much more satisfactory manner than has been the case until now".

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