Deadly drivers avoid maximum prison time in Nottinghamshire as campaigners call for tougher sentences

Deadly drivers avoid maximum prison time in Nottinghamshire as campaigners call for tougher sentences
Deadly drivers avoid maximum prison time in Nottinghamshire as campaigners call for tougher sentences

Motorists who cause death by dangerous driving in Nottinghamshire commonly serve just five to seven years behind bars, figures show.

Road safety charity Brake says grieving families are often left feeling "grossly let down" by lenient sentences, and called for a change in the law.

In 2017, the Government pledged to introduce life sentences for killer drivers who cause death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone – but this has not yet been implemented.

Currently, the maximum sentence courts can hand down is 14 years imprisonment.

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Between 2008 and 2018, 41 people were convicted for causing death by dangerous driving in the area covered by Nottinghamshire Police, according to Ministry of Justice figures.

Of these, 40 were sent straight to prison.

Sentences lasting between five and seven years were among the most common handed out.

The same number of offenders were also given sentences lasting between seven and 10 years.

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The most severe punishment given out was more than 10 years, accounting for two sentences, while the most lenient was just one year.

Prisoners who are sentenced to less than four years in prison are automatically released half-way through.

Those sentenced to more than this are also eligible for release after serving half their time, but only if they are granted parole.

A spokesman for Brake said the Government must prioritise introducing tougher sentences.

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He said: “Deaths and serious injuries on our roads cause terrible suffering every day.

"Tragically, drivers who kill all too often receive lenient sentences leaving grieving relatives feeling grossly let down by our legal system.

"We need laws that act as a deterrent to dangerous drivers, and penalties that reflect the suffering caused."

The average sentence for causing death by dangerous driving in England and Wales during 2018 was 64 months, according to RoadPeace, which campaigns on behalf of crash victims.

A spokeswoman said many cases that start out as dangerous driving end up as causing death by careless driving, which carry much more lenient sentences.

"Too often bereaved families have their suffering aggravated by the complacency in our justice system," she said.

"Lenient sentences and paltry compensation settlements leave families feeling like the death of their loved one meant little to society and the public."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “Killer drivers ruin lives and can already face a maximum of 14 years in prison for their crimes.

“We intend to give courts the power to hand down life sentences for death by dangerous driving – sending a clear message to those who drive irresponsibly. Proposals for a change in the law will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.”