We read with interest today’s announcement that dangerous drivers could face longer jail terms under a proposal to go before Parliament. Politicians will now discuss the possibility of introducing a new crime of causing serious injury by dangerous driving (amazingly one hasn’t been in place before!) and that it will carry a maximum sentence of five years. Should the new crime become law, it will be added to the coalition government’s sentencing and rehabilitation bill.
We know the cost of dangerous driving as we see it every day. Many of our Road Traffic Accident claimants are caused serious and sometimes life changing injuries as a result of some crazy driving. The injuries caused in such road traffic accidents cause great distress and in dealing with the personal injury claims that follow, that distress is felt by us too.
It is difficult to prosecute dangerous driving offences because it is very difficult to prove that an injury was caused by an act of wanton neglect and dangerous driving rather than a motorists momentary lapse in concentration. Government statistics show that in the last year, in excess of 2,000 drivers were convicted of dangerous driving, with 175 convicted of the very serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
We welcome this introduction of a stiff warning to motorists. Many severe injuries are caused in Road Traffic accidents. Fortunately, most accidents are just a momentary lapse in concentration rather than dangerous driving, but if an accident can be avoided, we welcome that and believe that the threat of such a stiff legal punishment will make drivers think twice before risking the lives of motorists.
We are of the view that this new offence now means that serious injury is recognised as a real issue along with death and that living life with multiple injuries caused through the act of dangerous driving is not something we should accept.
In the main, the majority of Road Traffic Accident claimants come to us with injuries that will not be life threatening, but often severe whiplash can be life changing as can serious back pain caused in a car crash.