It is an unfortunate fact that a number of people are on the road illegally; either they are driving a vehicle without an appropriate licence, have failed to properly cover themselves and their vehicle with car insurance, or are disqualified from driving yet still continue to get behind the wheel of a car. Luckily, the DVLA keeps a record of all drivers that have been disqualified, as well as which vehicles in the UK are legally allowed on the road, which helps the police can catch those that are on the road illegally.
However, some have claimed that the punishments for those that cause harm to others while on the road are too lenient, which is why Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced that disqualified drivers who cause harm or death on the road will now face tougher sentencing. Previously, disqualified drivers who caused death were only sentenced to two years in prison, however after appeals from victims’ families this has now been increased to ten years. Furthermore, Mr Grayling has brought in a new law which states that disqualified drivers who cause serious injury will now face up to four years in jail.
Discussing the new, tougher rules, Mr Grayling said: “I want to make our roads safer and ensure people who cause harm face tough penalties. Disqualified drivers should not be on our roads for good reason. Those who choose to defy a ban imposed by a court and go on to destroy innocent lives must face serious consequences for the terrible impact of their actions. Today, we are sending a clear message that anyone who does will face much tougher punishment.”
It is expected for the new laws to come into place as early as the beginning of 2015, and the Justice Secretary has also claimed that he will be reviewing other punishments for driving offences in the near future in order to make sure that those who break the law receive adequate sentences. Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan has supported Mr Grayling’s proposal and agrees that those who drive without car insurance should also face tougher sentencing, however he also added that the UK’s prisons are currently overcrowded.
Mr Khan said: “The government also needs to assure the public that they have enough space in prison to cope with the increased demand. The current shortage of space and increased overcrowding on their watch has led to serious problems in our prisons.” Mr Grayling has been supported by a number of motoring groups and charities such as Brake and the AA, with Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, saying: “We have long campaigned for a shake-up of charges and penalties for risky and irresponsible drivers who kill and injure on our roads.”
Meanwhile, AA president Edmund King said: “A small proportion of drivers are serial offenders who need to be taken off the road. We support these changes as a deterrent to not re-offend or as a means of stopping those imprisoned who seem intent to be serial re-offenders.”