Proposed new drink and drug driving laws supported by motorist organisation

GEM has called for more stringent sentences to be imposed

by Joe Jeffrey

GEM calls for greater consistency in sentencing drink and drug drivers as new laws are proposed

Road Safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has praised proposed government plans to charge any drink and drug drivers with manslaughter if they kill someone in a crash.

The move, reported over the weekend, is part of a proposed shake-up of criminal justice after MPs demanded harsher and more consistent sentencing of offenders.

The proposed new guidelines would involve greater use of the manslaughter charge, meaning that drink or drug drivers who kill someone in a collision could face life in prison.

At present, the highest sentence for death by careless driving under the influence is 14 years, increased from ten years in 2004. Causing death by dangerous driving can also lead to a sentence of 14 years.

GEM chief executive David Williams MBE said: “GEM has long been calling for greater consistency in sentencing, particularly in drink driving, where it is vital to send a strong message. The present reliance on individual judges to be either harsh or lenient with offenders is entirely inappropriate.”

“The act of driving a vehicle while intoxicated is serious enough in itself,” Williams continued. “If that then results in the death of someone unfortunate enough to be in that driver’s way, then we believe a manslaughter charge is right. This, we hope, should act as a strong deterrent to anyone willing to risk driving after taking alcohol or drugs.”