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Killer drivers could receive life sentences under new rules

The new sentencing regime far exceeds the previous maximum penalty of 14 years (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The new sentencing regime far exceeds the previous maximum penalty of 14 years (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Killer drivers will face up to life in prison under new sentencing rules coming into force this week.

Judges will be able to hand down life sentences to dangerous drivers who kill and careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs.

The new sentencing regime far exceeds the previous maximum penalty of 14 years.

sentence reforms
Drivers who kill now face life sentences under new legislation (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The change comes into effect on Tuesday as a result of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act.

The reforms will also create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, meaning those who inflict long-term or permanent injuries also face tougher sentences.

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab said: “Too many lives have been lost to reckless behaviour behind the wheel, devastating families.

“We have changed the law so that those responsible will now face the possibility of life behind bars.”

At the same time, the Government is changing the rules to allow judges to grant people with hearing loss the additional support of sign language interpreters during jury deliberations.

Previously, only the 12 sworn jurors were permitted to enter deliberation rooms meaning those who have hearing loss were unable participate.

Mr Raab added: “The right to be judged by your peers dates back to Magna Carta, and is a cornerstone of our justice system.

“We’re changing the law so that many more deaf people have the opportunity to carry out this important civic duty.”