Petition Increase sentencing for causing death by dangerous driving

Recent road traffic fatalities have highlighted the offence of causing death by dangerous driving which, in Jersey, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

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In the UK the starting point for a single offence of this nature resulting in a single death is 12 years but if another death is involved in the same incident then this threshold is raised (Reference to sentencing guidelines) before any aggravating factor or mitigation is taken into account. Furthermore, the maximum sentence that can be imposed in the UK is one of life imprisonment.

It is time that Jersey legislation reflected the level of seriousness of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving and the Government must act to amend the existing legislation to increase the sentencing powers of the Jersey Courts to ensure that those convicted of the offence are properly held to account.

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Ministers responded

This response was given on 3 April 2024

The Minister for Home Affairs is acutely aware that offences of this nature can have a devastating impact on all who are affected, including victims, their families and the community more widely.

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Keeping people safe on our roads is a key priority for the States of Jersey Police and the Government of Jersey, and the Police are committed to high quality investigation of any road traffic collision to bring offenders to justice.

In January this year, the new Strategic Road Safety Unit was established in order to develop and deliver a broad range of evidence-informed strategic road safety policy, strategy, delivery programmes and projects. Through collaboration with Ministers, Government of Jersey and key stakeholders they provide expert advice to ensure the Government’s road safety objectives are met, leading to a reduction in road traffic collisions and casualties in Jersey.

Through the work of this unit, the Government will be publishing a Collision and Casualty Reduction Plan. This is anticipated to be delivered later this year. This new strategy will introduce the adoption of the Safe System Approach to Road Safety, of which one element is Post Collision Response.

Whilst it is not immediately within the scope of that work, a review of sentencing and penalties for road safety offences does fall within that workstream more broadly and is something that I would support. This would require discussion and collaboration with other relevant departments and agencies, including the Police and Judiciary, in order to progress.

Whilst I am therefore not able to immediately make a commitment to increase sentencing, I can confirm that I would support a review of sentencing for these offences to ensure that they are acting as an effective deterrent to those who would commit offences on our roads, and to provide justice for road victims.

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