New Law in Britain: Drivers Who Accidentally Kill While Using Mobile Phones Will Face Life in Prison

New Law in Britain: Drivers Who Accidentally Kill While Using Mobile Phones Will Face Life in Prison

When people think of bad driving behavior, “texting and driving” probably tops the list. The driver ends up distracted and too often, that distraction can lead to fatalities. The British government has just put into place a new law, however, that they hope will cut down on the number of people who use their mobile phones while driving.

The government has decided to institute tougher penalties for drivers who accidentally kill someone while using their cell phone. Now, these people can potentially be jailed for life. Also included in the tougher punishment are those that drink and drive, are under the influence of drugs, and are speeding.

The person could also be given the harsher sentence if they are convicted of “causing serious injury through careless driving.”

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“We’ve taken a long hard look at driving sentences, and we received 9,000 submissions to our consultation,” Justice Minister Dominic Raab said. “Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.”

According to the Ministry of Justice, 90% of the people who responded to the public consultation were in favor of the new offense and 70% approved of increasing jail time for those who violated laws that already exist. “We will introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, punishable by imprisonment, to fill a gap in the law and reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case,” Raab explained.

Jason Wakeford, director of Brake, a road safety charity, praised the initiative. “We applaud the Government for at last recognising that the statute books have been weighed against thousands of families who have had their lives torn apart through the actions of drivers who have flagrantly broken the law,” he said.

Some commenters, however, were not as impressed.

“But people who use knives to kill will get 5 to 8 years,” one person wrote. Another remarked, “Prisons will be full all the time.”

Others, though, were in favor. “Too many people risking their own lives and those of others. About time prison time is the consequence,” a commenter said. Another person agreed, writing, “Any driving offence that kills should carry high sentences.”

Would you support life sentences for those who kill when driving carelessly?

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