The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Claire Ward): The Government have been working throughout this Parliament to improve safety on Britain’s roads. In recent years we have enacted a number of measures designed to deal more effectively with those whose driving puts others at serious risk. We have:
introduced the new offences of causing death by careless driving and causing death while driving unlicensed or uninsured, which have maximum penalties of five years and two years imprisonment, respectively; and
increased the maximum penalty for serious driving offences, including causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, from 10 to 14 years imprisonment (Criminal Justice Act 2003, came into effect on 27 February 2004).
But we need to do more. Dangerous driving is still too prevalent. We should not underestimate the devastating effect that bad driving can have on people’s lives. I have listened to the representations from those who are campaigning for increased penalties for dangerous driving. I have come to the conclusion that they are right, and that the current penalties are insufficient.
I therefore intend to increase the maximum penalty for dangerous driving from two years imprisonment to five years imprisonment. This will require primary legislation. An appropriate provision will be included in a suitable Bill when parliamentary time allows.