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Tougher road death action needed


By Daniel Machin

Most motorists believe drivers who cause deaths on the roads should be jailed for a minimum of five years.

The finding comes from research by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line into road fatalities.

Government figures show that just 62% of those convicted of killing someone through risky driving are sent to jail.

Only 9%, meanwhile, are handed sentences of five years or more.

82% think sentences should be higher

The survey of 1,000 drivers reveals the vast majority are unhappy at the way the current justice system works.

Some 82% of those polled think sentences should be higher for drivers who cause deaths, while 95% believe penalties should be tougher for killer drivers who flee the scene after an incident.

A further 81% are of the opinion that if you kill or seriously injure someone when taking any kind of illegal risk at the wheel, you should be considered "dangerous", not "careless", in the eyes of the law.

"We want the government to acknowledge how inadequate current charges and penalties are and take action to prevent traumatised families suffering further insult," said Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend.

'Terrible impact on families'

"Denying justice to victim families often has a terrible impact on their ability to rebuild and move forward with their lives.

"Brake bears witness to the consequences for these vulnerable families every day through its support services for bereaved and injured crash victims.

Our justice system should make clear that risky, illegal behaviour on roads is no accident: it's selfish, destructive, and unacceptable."

As many as 85% of the respondents claim drivers who kill while they are drink or drug-driving should get at least five years in prison.

Some 66% also support such sentences for those who cause a death through speeding, while 64% say the same about those who kill when on their phone behind the wheel.

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