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Stiffer Penalties for Injury by Reckless Driving

94% of drivers support the planned new driving offence, causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

In an April 2012 Internet poll of 1,431 drivers by the Institute of Advane Motorists, 94% affirmed that the new offence was a good idea.

Under current laws, when a driver recklessly causes very serious, he is often charged with dangerous driving. This is a serious crime with a heavy penalty, but does not take into account the severity of the damage done to other people's lives. This new law would reflect driver recklessness that causes life changing injuries, with even tougher penalties attached.

When asked if sentences should be based on the offence itself, or the outcome of the offence, for example causing a life-changing injury, the figures were close. While 53% thought the sentence should be based on the offence itself, 44% thought sentences should be based on the outcome.

When asked what the biggest deterrents to bad driving were, 70% replied: "enforcement – the likelihood I will get caught." Almost half of respondents (48%) said: "the consequences – causing death or injury to myself or others," and 43% said: "the severity of the punishment if I get caught."

IAM chief executive Simon Best commented: “People want to see tougher penalties to deal with situations where the victim of a road crash is seriously injured. But the government needs to ensure that punishments for dangerous driving accurately reflect the severity of the offences committed."

“It may seem shocking that enforcement is a greater deterrent to poor driving, than the risk of causing death of injury, but just as seeing police on the beat reduces crime, highly visible traffic cops reduce bad driving. Therefore any change in law needs to be supported by well resourced enforcement on our roads.”

(Causing serious injury by dangerous driving forms part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (passed May 2012): legal-aid-and-sentencing-act

More at IAM

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