Cycling UK has reacted to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation response on ‘driving offences and penalties relating to causing death or serious injury.’
The cycling charity is urging the government to lay out a clear commitment and timescale for its proposals to consider driver disqualifications for all road traffic offences.
The consultation was launched in December 2016 and received over 9,000 responses, reports the MoJ. Despite an earlier statement in May 2014 by then justice secretary Chris Grayling MP, announcing the government’s intention to launch a full review into all road traffic offences and sentencing, the consultation only considered driving offences and penalties that cause serious injury or death.
Cycling UK, together with road safety organisations including RoSPA and RoadPeace, believes a full review of all road traffic offences and penalties is still needed. This review should include further consideration of whether the current distinction between careless and dangerous driving works. Cycling UK has expressed disappointment at the limited nature of this review, which fails to acknowledge current problems in the application of road traffic law.
The cycling charity has however praised its recommendations for the greater use of driver disqualification being taken seriously. In its consultation response, the government announced it ‘intends to give this proposal further consideration, to take account of disqualification for all offences and any emerging evidence on the effectiveness of disqualification and retesting requirements before proposing further changes to the law.
Speaking on the greater use of driver disqualifications Cycling UK’s head of advocacy and campaigns Duncan Dollimore said: “Longer sentencing is not the only answer for drivers who kill. A mistake while driving is one of the few activities which can see an otherwise law abiding citizen’s actions result in death or serious injury for a fellow road user. In such cases, custodial sentencing is not always the answer, but the use of longer and life driving bans are.
“Cycling UK is pleased to see government is considering driving bans as an option, but we urge them to make their commitment clearer and establish a clear timeline for consultation. Cycling UK also cautiously welcomed indications drawn from the Government’s press release announcing its consultation response that any new legislation “will take account of, and incorporate, the review of cycle safety.”