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Ninety-four per cent of drivers support the planned new driving offence, causing serious injury by dangerous driving*. This finding comes from a recent poll of over 1400 people**, by road safety charity the IAM. Six per cent think it’s a bad idea.

Currently when someone drives recklessly and causes very serious injury as a result, they are often charged with dangerous driving. While this is a serious crime with a heavy penalty, it doesn’t take into account the severity of the outcome. This new law would reflect driver recklessness that causes life changing injuries, with even tougher penalties attached.

When asked whether sentences should be based on the offence itself, or the outcome of that offence, for example causing a life-changing injury, the figures were close. While 53 per cent thought the sentence should be based on the offence itself, 44 per cent thought sentences should be based on the outcome.

When asked what the biggest deterrents to bad driving were, 70 per cent said ‘enforcement – the likelihood I will get caught’. Almost half of respondents (48 per cent) said ‘the consequences – causing death or injury to myself or others’, and 43 per cent said ‘the severity of the punishment if I am caught’.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “People want to see tougher penalties to deal with situations where the victim of a road accident is seriously injured. But the government needs to ensure that punishments for dangerous driving accurately reflect the severity of the offences committed.

“It may seem shocking that enforcement is a greater deterrent to poor driving, than the risk of causing death of injury, but just as seeing police on the beat reduces crime, highly visible traffic cops reduce bad driving. Therefore any change in law needs to be supported by well resourced enforcement on our roads.”


Notes to editors:          

  1. *Causing serious injury by dangerous driving forms part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (passed May 2012) http://www.justice.gov.uk/legislation/bills-and-acts/acts/legal-aid-and-sentencing-act
  2. **IAM web based opinion poll of 1,431 people conducted in April 2012
  3. The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving, motorcycling and cycling. The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive. The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 100,000 members in the UK and Ireland. It is best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving, motorcycling and cycling courses. Its policy and research division offers advice and expertise on road safety.


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