Causing death by dangerous driving


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.

Contents

Statute

Section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as substituted by section 1 of the Road Traffic Act 1991[1]), creates the offences of causing death by dangerous driving:

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.

"Dangerously"

See Dangerous driving#"Dangerously"

Mode of trial

Causing death by dangerous driving is an indictable-only offence.

Sentencing

A person convicted of causing death by dangerous driving is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.[2] Disqualification for a minimum of two years is obligatory on conviction.[3] Endorsement is obigatory on conviction.[4] The offence carries three to eleven penalty points.[5]

The Court of Appeal in R v Cooksley and others [6] gave guidelines for cases where death is caused by dangerous driving. In R v Richardson [7] 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).

History

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[8] so as to increase the maximum term to ten years.

New offences

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.

History

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.

See also

United Kingdom traffic laws

References

  1. ^ Section 1 Road Traffic Act 1991
  2. ^ The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, Part I of Schedule 2 (as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2003, section 285(3))
  3. ^ The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, sections 34(1) and (4) Part I of Schedule 2
  4. ^ The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, section 44 and Part I of Schedule 2
  5. ^ The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988,section 28 and Part I of Schedule 2
  6. ^ Cooksley & Anor v R [2003] EWCA Crim 996 (03 April 2003)
  7. ^ Richardson & Ors, R v [2006] EWCA Crim 3186 (18 December 2006)
  8. ^ England and Wales: S.I. 1993/1968, art. 2(1) & Sch.1; Scotland: S.I. 1993/2035, art. 2(1)

See also



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