Dangerous Driving Causing Death in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • R v Joshua Mark Dobby
    • Court of Appeal
    • 24 May 2017

    There has been ongoing debate as to whether the maximum available sentence of fourteen years' imprisonment currently set for the statutory offence of causing death by dangerous driving is appropriate and whether such maximum should be increased. That, however, is a matter for Parliament; it is not a matter for the courts.

  • Attorney General's Reference (Nos. 14 and 24 of 1993); R v Shepherd; R v Wernet
    • Court of Appeal
    • 17 Dic 1993

    The Road Traffic Act 1991 created two new offences by way of amendment of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Section 1 of the 1991 Act substituted for sections 1 and 2 of the 1988 Act the new offence of causing death by dangerous driving, thereby replacing the offence of causing death by reckless driving. At one time earlier in the somewhat chequered history of road traffic offences there had been an offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

    These reforms show an intention by Parliament to strengthen the criminal law, to reduce death on the roads by increasing the punishment available to the Courts, and by specifically targeting those who cause death whilst driving with excess alcohol. In tandem with that, causing death by the less serious form of culpable driving, characterised as careless, carries the same maximum sentence if coupled with driving whilst unfit through drink or over the limit.

    Thus, where a driver is over the limit, and kills someone as a result of his careless driving, a prison sentence will ordinarily be appropriate. The length of sentence will of course depend upon the aggravating and mitigating circumstances in the particular case, but especially on the extent of the carelessness and the amount the defendant is over the limit.

  • Re Attorney General's Reference (No.152 of 2002); R v Robert Charles Cooksley
    • Court of Appeal
    • 03 Abr 2003

    It is designed to protect road users in the future from an offender who had shown himself to be a real risk on the roads. The Panel suggests the risk represented by the offender is reflected in the level of culpability which attaches to his driving so that matters relevant to fixing the length of the driving disqualification for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving will be much the same as those factors we have listed already.

  • R v Jack Richardson; R v Sheppard; R v Abery; R v Little; R v Poel; R v Robertson
    • Court of Appeal
    • 18 Dic 2006

    Everyone knows, or should know, that the consumption of even small quantities of alcohol undermines the ability of any driver to apply his full concentration to the road.

  • R v Clive Wood
    • Court of Appeal
    • 02 Abr 2009

    We derive some further, indirect support to our approach from the stark reality that the legislature has concluded, dealing with it generally, that the punitive element in sentences for murder should be increased. Parliament's intention seems clear: crimes which result in death should be treated more seriously and dealt with more severely than before.

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