Tougher sentences for killer drivers will combat a ‘real problem’ in Scotland

Tougher driving laws would solve a growing problem in Scotland according to Lord Duncan
Tougher driving laws would solve a growing problem in Scotland according to Lord Duncan

Tougher sentences for killer drivers being brought in by the UK Government will help tackle a “real problem” in Scotland, a Conservative minister said.

Scotland Officer Minister Lord Duncan welcomed plans to introduce life sentences for those drivers who cause fatal accidents while speeding, racing or using mobile phone behind the wheel - an increase from the current maximum sentence of 14 years.

Life sentences will also be introduced for drink and drug drivers, if they are convicted of careless driving which results in someone’s death.

In addition to this, ministers also plan to create a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.

While Scotland has its own legal system, driving offences are still reserved to Westminster, the UK Government said.

READ MORE: Campaigners call for action against the chronic leniency of Scottish courts in dealing with killer drivers

Over the period 2006 and 2016 there were 297 convictions for death by dangerous driving in Scotland - with 41 of these in 2015-16 alone.

Recent road casualty figures also showed 191 people were killed on Scotland’s roads in 2016 - an increase of 14% from the previous year.

Lord Duncan said: “Dangerous and careless driving remains a real problem in Scotland. Over the past five years alone there have been 166 convictions for causing death by dangerous driving.

“That is why the UK Government is introducing these tougher sentences which will address these senseless crimes that devastate far too many families each year.”

READ MORE: Killer drink driver out of jail after 14 months

The UK Government said a consultation it had carried out showed “substantial backing” for its plans.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “We’ve taken a long hard look at driving sentences, and we received 9,000 submissions to our consultation.

“Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.”

He added: “We will introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, punishable by imprisonment, to fill a gap in the law and reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case.”