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Causing death by dangerous driving

(24 Posts)
Bowman99 Tue 06-Sep-16 21:10:26

A relative of mine was recently killed by a speeding drink/drug driver. He has received a prison sentence of six years and an 8 year driving ban. We were shocked at the shortness of the sentence (as with good behaviour he is probably looking at 3-4 year max) but apparently one third of offenders don't even get a prison sentence which is pretty shocking.

The 8 year driving ban amazed me - I thought that surely being drunk, high on drugs, speeding and driving dangerously would be enough for a lifeline driving ban. What do people think of lifeline driving bans? Do you think they are warranted or too excessive?

We have started a petition calling for them and it would be good to get a feel for what people think. The petition also calls for a review of sentencing and stronger penalties for speeders/drink drivers, etc. Someone suggested that people might be put off signing by this last point?!

www.change.org/p/the-rt-hon-elizabeth-truss-mp-lifetime-driving-bans-for-people-convicted-of-causing-death-by-dangerous-driving

SprogletsMum Tue 06-Sep-16 21:14:14

Would a lifetime driving ban work? Surely if someone is stupid enough to get behind the wheel drunk and high, they will happily drive illegally anyway?
I don't mean to be disrespectful, I do think there should be longer sentences for this but just can't see that a lifetime driving ban would help.

firsttimekat Tue 06-Sep-16 21:37:52

I'm sorry for your loss, and I think it's right that you campaign for changes if you feel that's right.

For a six year sentence he will be released after 3years, it's an automatic release point set in legislation. There is no 'good behaviour' element. Although you can get additional days added to your sentence if you significantly break prison rules.

I think prison and other sentences should focus on rehabilitation, and we should start with the premise that people can change. I don't think a lifetime ban is appropriate. Nothing is going to bring your relative back and along with punishment sentences should rehabilitate offenders to bring them back to be useful meme ears of society.

Bowman99 Tue 06-Sep-16 22:11:21

You can be a useful member of society without a driving licence!

The idea of lifetime driving bans is not simply as a punishment - it is also about bringing in penalties that serve as an adequate deterrent. At present you can be a multiple offender for speeding etc without any real punishment aside from fines, points on your licence and the odd 3/6 month ban. With just 3 years (or maybe not even a prison sentence!) in prison for killing someone whilst drunk, taking drugs, speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road, there isn't much courts can use as a deterrent for people who commit repeat driving offences without killing anyone...

ImperialBlether Tue 06-Sep-16 22:15:45

I'm so sorry you've lost your relative in such a shocking and avoidable way.

I can never understand why the driving ban starts when they enter prison, when it's pointless anyway. So this guy, if he stays in for six years (very unlikely) will only be banned for two years in reality. What's the point in that?

AgainPlease Tue 06-Sep-16 22:22:00

I don't know why people aren't more outraged at this.

I lost a friend who was out on his bike one night training for a charity bike ride to raise money for his father who died of cancer, only to be knocked off his bike and killed by a drunk driver.

It's very easy to say 'let's rehabilitate them' or 'lifetime driving bans don't work' but if it happened to YOUR close friend or relative or worse your child, I'm sure you would be campaigning for harsher sentences and penalties too.

firsttimekat Tue 06-Sep-16 22:22:34

I didn't mean to imply that you can't be useful without a driving license sorry. It was meant as a more general point about the purpose of sentences.

I don't think increasing the ban from 8 years is actually going to impact deterrence, if someone is prepared to get behind the wheel drunk and on drugs I don't think they are going to be thinking what is the punishment if I get caught? Actually know what it is and then change their behaviour.

StealthPolarBear Tue 06-Sep-16 22:25:16

" For a six year sentence he will be released after 3years, it's an automatic release point set in legislation. There is no 'good behaviour' element."
I don't understand this, why don't they just call it what it is then - a three year sentence?

ImperialBlether Tue 06-Sep-16 22:45:14

There is a good behaviour element! It's "they'll serve half of their time with good behaviour."

EmilyDickinson Tue 06-Sep-16 23:01:05

So sorry for your loss OP. I completely agree with you and have signed the petition. Thank you for sharing it.

SlightlyperturbedOwl Tue 06-Sep-16 23:04:20

Really sorry to hear about your relative. flowers Personally I think that causing a death while driving under the influence should be classed as murder, as it is a foreseeable consequence of the action.

Bowman99 Tue 06-Sep-16 23:29:44

Thanks for your kind words.

It's a difficult topic. I can understand the earlier comments about rehabilitation and giving offenders the chance to become 'useful members of society' etc, and generally I am inn support of this.

I work in an industry where I come across a lot of vulnerable people, many within criminal histories where their crimes would have been much better met with alternative support and rehabilitation rather than incarceration but I have never quite felt the same about driving offences. Maybe because the offenders so rarely have any real issues apart from a general arrogance, carelessness and belief that they are invincible....! I realise of course that there are big differences in offences; the driver who gets snapped doing 3 miles over the limit isn't in quite the same league as the driver doing 90 mph in a built up area.

SlightlyperturbedOwl Tue 06-Sep-16 23:34:25

It is a matter of 'degree'. I get annoyed about calls to lower the drink limit, would prefer them to actually enforce properly the limit we have, by random testing. If people think they would get caught then they would be less likely to do it.

Northernlurker Tue 06-Sep-16 23:35:09

Justice isn't about punishment. It's about restoring the offender to a position in society where they don't harm anybody again.

A lifetime driving ban will have significant effect on the offenders life and potentially harm their work life and family life. That will impact on their rehabilitation and therefor put society at risk. Of course if it's your family who is bereaved you will feel a desire to see them punished but that's not the point. Sorry won't be signing,

EmilyDickinson Tue 06-Sep-16 23:50:05

Isn't justice about punishment, partly?

Proportionate punishment of the offender such as to ensure that victims and their supporters don't feel that they have to seek revenge or take the law into their own hands.

Deterrence of potential offenders from doing the same thing and of the original offender committing the same offence (or worse) again.

Rehabilitation of the offender.

Protection of the rest of the society from the offender.

I feel that the sentences and very limited restrictions on driving given to those who kill and maim using a vehicle do not adequately punish or deter and by allowing reckless people to continue to drive put the rest of us at risk.

There was a case recently of a lofty driver, who had already been reprimanded for failing to use their mirrors, driving into a cyclist whilst turning left. The cyclist's leg was amputated, her life has been utterly and permanently changed. The lorry driver was judged to be completely at fault. They were given a fine of, as I recall, less than £1,000 and some points on their licence. I do not consider that justice. As someone who cycles, walks and drives it really makes me quite angry. It is perfectly possible to live a happy, productive and fulfilled life without driving a car particularly in comparison to losing a leg or your life.

firsttimekat Wed 07-Sep-16 06:48:13

Stealth it's still a six year sentence because when he is released from prison he will be 'on license' and have conditions set that he has to meet, he will have a parole officer who he has to meet and who will continue to oversee his rehabilitation. This will be for the remaining time on his sentence, so three years. If he breaks these conditions he could be returned to prison for the remaining period.

I do think the sentence for some driving offences should be increased especially where this involves drink and drugs as it's obviously an active decision to get in the car and you know the potential for an accident. However some driving accidents feel like momentary lapses and sometimes this still results in a fatality which is awful for all involved but I don't feel should be punished in the same way. That's why sentence ranges allow judges to make the right decision for the case.

waitinglistquery Wed 07-Sep-16 06:57:28

I feel the sentence should have been longer but not particularly the driving ban. It never feels like there is true justice in cases like this flowers

waitinglistquery Wed 07-Sep-16 06:59:04

And of course justice is partly about punishment, for all the reasons listed by Emily.

Northernlurker Wed 07-Sep-16 08:10:25

In the case the op mentions though the accused pleaded guilty immediately - which is why he's been sentenced so quickly. He apparently expressed remorse immediately. The justice system recognises those things in his favour.

DiegeticMuch Thu 08-Sep-16 20:37:11

The sentences for crimes committed behind a wheel are so lenient. It's a disgrace.

Andro Fri 09-Sep-16 21:03:21

Justice isn't about punishment. It's about restoring the offender to a position in society where they don't harm anybody again.

Then it failed spectacularly in the case of the man who killed my DC's bio parents and nearly my ds as well.

A lifetime driving ban will have significant effect on the offenders life and potentially harm their work life and family life.

Diddums!

That will impact on their rehabilitation and therefor put society at risk

You are assuming that the kind of selfish idiots who get drunk/high and then speed will be rehabilitated - drink driving has a 25% recidivism rate (and that just the ones she get caught again!). Society is at risk as soon as they get behind the wheel!

throwingpebbles Fri 09-Sep-16 21:15:45

Huge sympathies flowers

I too lost a loved one due to a selfish drunk driver and the thought of "what might have been" if the driver hadn't driven that night.

Every time we get in a car we should be fully conscious of its potential to kill in a moment, and drive it accordingly. Not just drunk drivers, but all who drive seriously irresponsibly should face severe punishment. Driving a car carelessly is like firing a loaded gun off with your eyes shut in a crowded room.

So- also drug drivers/ those who still use mobile phones, those parents-in-hurry who hurtle round the school car park, those who drive when severely exhausted or ill...all are culpable.

(And that's not to say that there aren't true "accidents" which are just awful terrible rotten luck and where all those involved should be looked on with sympathy flowers)

1234hello Fri 09-Sep-16 22:01:26

Signed and bumping as I agree with comments about such crimes being akin to murder.

throwingpebbles Fri 09-Sep-16 22:33:15

Didn't even spot the petition link earlier, thanks! Will sign it

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