Fleet News

Courts to get tough on drivers who cause fatal accidents

FLEET drivers who cause a fatal accident through falling asleep or using a mobile phone at the wheel can expect tougher prison sentences.

Government watchdog the Sentencing Advisory Panel has recommended that when courts are considering a custodial sentence for cases involving a death, factors such as using a phone or falling asleep should lead to a tougher sentence.

The panel believes new guidelines will help sentencers to strike an appropriate balance between the level of role of the offender and the magnitude of the harm resulting from the offence.

Panel chairman Professor Martin Wasik said: 'Under previous sentencing guidelines 'briefly dozing at the wheel' was seen as an example of a 'momentary dangerous error of judgment', indicating a less serious offence'.

It is expected that the Government will ban the use of hand-held mobile phones by Easter and that drivers caught using one, even if they are in a traffic jam, or stopped at lights, face a fixed penalty fine of between £30 to £40.

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