The Director of Public Prosecutions has called for a comprehensive review of his agency's prosecution policy over mounting concern that hundreds of drivers responsible for killing someone are being allowed to plead guilty to charges of careless driving rather than face trial for the much more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving. A conviction for careless driving carries a maximum sentence of a £2,500 fine. Causing death by dangerous driving, however, can lead to imprisonment for up to 14 years, but is an offence which is more difficult to prove in court. On some occasions, the even lesser charge of driving without due care and attention is substituted.
There will be a period of public consultation which will run in tandem with the passing through Parliament of the Road Safety Bill, which will introduce a new offence of causing death by careless driving, which is intended to carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. It is intended that this offence will apply in circumstances such as when a death is caused by an accident which occurs as a result of a driver using a mobile phone whilst driving.