Posted 15 September, 2020 at 09:30
Paul Loughlin, senior associate solicitor at Stephensons:
“The impact of dangerous and careless driving often has far reaching consequences, not only for those involved but also for their families and friends. Much of the criticism surrounding legislation in this area is that it doesn’t provide sufficient justice for those who are killed as a result of dangerous driving, or those seriously injured as a result. These proposals would transform the sentencing guidelines for this offence and go a long way to redress the balance for victims.
“On the flip side, we have often seen prosecutors taking a harder line in cases where there has been a serious injury and the driving standard would ordinarily be considered to be ‘careless’ rather than ‘dangerous’. The absence of the ability to charge with causing serious injury through careless driving has seen inconsistent charging decisions being made to plug a gap. There are clear examples of cases being ‘bumped up’ from a straight forward careless driving charge to the more serious charge of causing serious injury through dangerous driving with more emphasis being placed on the extent of the injury caused, irrespective of the fact that the standard of driving would ordinarily be considered to be ‘careless’. The introduction of this new offence should more suitably plug that gap and ensure more appropriate charges being laid for this type of offence.”