Earlier on, Philip Somarakis, Partner and Head of Regulatory Solutions at Ince, explained to BBC Radio Bristol listeners about the important legal changes in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Act which are effective from today.
Notably, these increase the maximum penalty for 'causing death by dangerous driving' and 'causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs' from 14 years to life imprisonment.
Listen to Philip here on James Hanson's morning show (06:00 to 10:00), starting from 07:07am. The segment runs to 07:14am. (You will need to login to your BBC account to access it): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0ccdm8w
Roadpeace have for a long time been campaigning to increase the maximum sentences for these offences. The law has finally been changed so they are now more closely aligned to the penalties for manslaughter and murder.
The more publicity and public awareness there is about this change the better, especially if it makes people think twice before they get into their vehicle whilst under the influence.
According to statistics provided by Avon and Somerset Police, there were over 2,400 convictions in the region during 2020 involving drivers under the influence of drink or drugs. Far too many people were still finding it acceptable to drive whilst both their judgment and their reactions were impaired.
As a solicitor helping those families whose lives have been changed forever by the recklessness of some of these drivers, it is encouraging to see the Government putting further deterrent measures in place.
It is too early to know the extent to which these changes will lead to a reduction in road-related deaths and injuries, but even if there is just one less fatality as a result, that must be a good thing.
Drivers who kill could receive life sentences under law reform