Friday 15 August 2008

Soft Penalties = Dead People

The number of deaths caused by uninsured drivers has risen by nearly a third in six years while offenders have been facing softer penalties.

Figures seen by The Times show that average fines for driving without insurance have dropped by 17 per cent since 1997, from £224 to £185. But uninsured drivers are killing four people a week, more than ever before.
Yeah, I think that happens with all crimes, actually…

In a rare display of common sense, the government is actually taking this out of the hands of magistrates, in order to ensure that actual punishment is dealt out:
Under laws that come into force on Monday, causing death by driving while unlicensed, disqualified or un-insured will merit a maximum of two years in prison. The present rules allow courts to fine uninsured drivers up to £5,000 and do not include custodial sentences.
I criticise the government a lot, but credit where it’s due, on this they’ve finally done something right…

It’s not enough, though. The fines for being caught driving without insurance before you’ve killed someone need to be much, much tougher. But don’t take my word for it. From the comments to that article:
I am 18 years old. My insurance company want to charge me £3000 to insure my car. If, and it's a big if, I get caught with no insurance I get fined less than £200 pounds. Even with a dodgy maths A level I can work out what's cheapest.
Paul, Brighton,


Letters From A Tory said...

If you kill someone through driving, the penalties seem very distorted. People seem to get charged with dangerous driving instead of manslaughter and the weak jail terms follow.

Driving without insurance is a very serious offence and deserves a very serious punishment.

Anonymous said...

It certainly does. And it's not the sort of driving offence a speed camera every half a mile would catch either...