The United Kingdom is currently contemplating on whether the drivers who cause the death of others while looking at their mobile phones be imprisoned for life. The final verdict will be revealed on Monday. Ministers will be proposing to raise the upper limit of imprisonment for dangerous drivers who end up killing from fourteen years to a lifetime.
The change is being brought about in order to send a ‘clear message’ that people who cause ‘immeasurable pain’ to families with their reckless driving should be sentenced to a punishment that fits the crime committed. The move has been made after a number of high-profile cases where children were killed because the drivers failed to brake timely on account of being distracted by their phones.
Only last year, a total of 122 people were sentenced for causing the death of someone because of dangerous driving. Ministers of the UK government have become worried that punishments are not harsh enough since evidence suggests that the average sentence for causing the death of someone while driving is less than four years.
Sam Gyimah, the justice minister, said, ‘Killer drivers ruin lives. Their actions cause immeasurable pain to families, who must endure tragic, unnecessary losses. While impossible to compensate for the death of a loved one, we are determined to make sure the punishment fits the crime. My message is clear – if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads, you could face a life sentence.’
Ministers will also be suggesting a new offense of careless driving that leads to injury, with a maximum sentence of three years. Dangerous driving includes speeding, street racing, and using your mobile phone while you are driving. In October, a lorry driver killed a woman and three children when he hit their stationary car because he was looking at his mobile phone. The lorry driver was jailed for 10 years.
Chris Grayling, who is the Transport Secretary, said, ‘It may seem harmless replying to a text, answering a call or using an app, but your actions could kill and cause untold misery. We all have our part to play in ensuring our family and friends do not use their phones while driving. I will be announcing a tougher new penalty regime shortly.’