Drive for Justice campaign: Life sentences plan for killer motorists

Killer drivers are to face life sentences, the Government has announced.

Karen Codling
Karen Codling

Major changes to death by dangerous driving laws will see judges given new powers to sentence convicted motorists who have killed someone while speeding, street racing or on a mobile phone to life in jail instead of the current maximum term of 14 years.

The announcement comes just weeks after The Star and our sister titles launched the Drive for Justice campaign calling for sentences to be reviewed after revealing the current average sentence for death by dangerous driving is just four years, with over 100 killer motorists walking free from court in the past decade.

Eric Codling who was killed in an RTC on Whirlowdale Road.

The proposed law changes, which are now going out to consultation, have been welcomed by Karen Codling, whose husband Eric was killed by a speeding drunk-driver while out cycling in Sheffield.

Emma Egan, the woman who hit and killed dad-of-two Eric, was sentenced to just four years in jail and released earlier this year on licence after serving two years inside.

Karen, who backed the Drive for Justice campaign by telling her family’s story, said: “It is really good news, it is good they are listening.

“It makes me feel like I have done something a bit worthwhile and hopefully made a difference.”

Eric Codling who was killed in an RTC on Whirlowdale Road.

Under the new proposals, offenders who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs could also face life sentences.

New three year jail terms for careless drivers who cause serious injury will also be introduced, while minimum driving bans for those who kill while driving are also under consideration.

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Killer drivers ruin lives.

“Their actions cause immeasurable pain to families, who must endure tragic, unnecessary losses.

“While impossible to compensate for the death of a loved one, we are determined to make sure the punishment fits the crime.

“My message is clear – if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads, you could face a life sentence.”

Gary Rae, campaigns director for road safety charity Brake, said: “This is a vindication of our efforts, and those of victims’ families, calling for change.

“For too long, the justice system has treated them as second class citizens.”

The consultation will run until the beginning of February.