- Causing death by dangerous driving
Causing death by dangerous driving is a statutory offence in England and Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is an aggravated form of dangerous driving. It is currently created by section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as substituted by the Road Traffic Act 1991) but, following Adomako (1995) 1 AC 171, the offence of motor manslaughter may now be the preferred charge.
“ A person who causes the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence. ”
Mode of trial
Causing death by dangerous driving is an indictable-only offence.
A person convicted of causing death by dangerous driving is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years. Disqualification for a minimum of two years is obligatory on conviction. Endorsement is obigatory on conviction. The offence carries three to eleven penalty points.
The Court of Appeal in R v Cooksley and others  gave guidelines for cases where death is caused by dangerous driving. In R v Richardson  the Court of Appeal reassessed the starting point set out in R v Cooksley taking into consideration the increase in the maximum penalty. The relevant starting points identified in Cooksley should be reassessed as follows:
- i) No aggravating circumstances – twelve months to two years' imprisonment (previously 18 months);
- ii) Intermediate culpability - two to four and a half years' imprisonment (previously 3 years);
- iii) Higher culpability – four and a half to seven years' imprisonment (previously 5 years);
- iv) Most serious culpability – seven to fourteen years' imprisonment (previous starting point of 6 years).
Part I of Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 originally provided that a person convicted of this offence was liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years. It was amended by section 67(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1993 on 16 August 1993 so as to increase the maximum term to ten years.
The Road Safety Act 2006 introduced two new offences, of "causing death by careless, or inconsiderate driving" and a distinct offence for causing (any) death by driving when unlicensed, or disqualified.
This offence was formerly created by section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1972. But it was abolished by section 50 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
United Kingdom traffic laws
- ^ Section 1 Road Traffic Act 1991
- ^ The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, Part I of Schedule 2 (as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2003, section 285(3))
- ^ The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, sections 34(1) and (4) Part I of Schedule 2
- ^ The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, section 44 and Part I of Schedule 2
- ^ The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988,section 28 and Part I of Schedule 2
- ^ Cooksley & Anor v R  EWCA Crim 996 (03 April 2003)
- ^ Richardson & Ors, R v  EWCA Crim 3186 (18 December 2006)
- ^ England and Wales: S.I. 1993/1968, art. 2(1) & Sch.1; Scotland: S.I. 1993/2035, art. 2(1)
- Aggravated TWOC
- Vehicular homicide – a proposed replacement for causing death by dangerous driving, advocated by some legal reformists
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