Tougher penalties for drivers who kill someone have been added to an updated version of the traffic laws.
The universal guide for UK road users was amended this week due to a change in the law which means there are now tougher penalties for those found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving or of causing death by reckless driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Changes to the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which officially went into effect on June 28, mean judges can now hand down harsher sentences for those who injure someone while driving a vehicle.
The maximum sentences for these two offenses have been increased from 14 years in prison to life imprisonment, while the mandatory period of prohibition has increased from a minimum of two years to now a minimum of five years.
The Highway Code was also amended to add a new driving offense – which was also created as part of the changes – causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
This means those who inflict long-term or permanent injury are now also subject to jail time, an unlimited fine and a mandatory driving ban.
Speaking when the rules first came into effect on June 28, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Too many lives have been lost due to reckless behavior at the wheel, devastating families.
“We have changed the law so that those responsible now face the possibility of life behind bars.”
In January this year, the Highway Code underwent one of the most significant changes in its history when it introduced a “hierarchy of road users” into its guidelines.
The changes now place greater responsibility on those on the road who have the potential to cause the most damage, with truck, car and motorbike drivers topping the list.
Other updates included allowing cyclists to ride side-by-side or in the center of a lane if it’s quiet and safe, giving pedestrians the right of way when crossing a junction, and giving priority to cyclists at roundabouts.