Driving Offences: Sentencing

Justice written question – answered on 5th July 2012.

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Photo of Ian Austin Ian Austin Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) what estimate he has made of the change in the total immediate custodial sentences for (a) causing death by careless driving, (b) causing death by dangerous driving, (c) causing injury by careless driving and (d) causing injury by dangerous driving since the offence of death by careless driving was introduced in 2008;

(2) what estimate he has made of the change in the average custodial sentence length for (a) causing death by careless driving, (b) causing death by dangerous driving, (c) causing injury by careless driving and (d) causing injury by dangerous driving since the offence of death by careless driving was introduced in 2008;

(3) what assessment he has made of the reasons for the change in conviction rates for offences of death or injury by careless or dangerous driving since 2008;

(4) what estimate he has made of the average length of custodial sentence for the offences of (a) causing death by dangerous driving, (b) involuntary manslaughter and (c) causing grievous bodily harm in each of the last five years.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

Other than where specified in a statute, information held centrally does not include all the circumstances of each case, it is not possible to identify from offences of careless or dangerous driving those cases which resulted from injury to the victim. From proceedings for offences of manslaughter it is not possible to identify those specifically identified as 'involuntary'.

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts, and found guilty (including conviction ratio) and sentenced to immediate custody at all courts, with the average custodial sentence length, for selected driving offences, manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm, in England and Wales, from 2007 to 2011, can be viewed in the table.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts, and found guilty and sentenced to immediate custody at all courts, with the average custodial sentence length (ACSL), for selected offences, England and Wales, 2007 to 2011(1, 2)
  2007
Offence description Proceeded against Found guilty(3) Conviction ratio (percentage)(4) Sentenced(5) Of which: Immediate custody ACSL (months)(6)
Causing death by dangerous driving 276 233 84.4 233 214 44.1
Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs 40 67 167.5 67 65 39.2
Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving * * * * * *
Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers
Causing bodily harm by furious driving 7 5 71.4 5
Dangerous driving 4,705 4,118 87.5 4,221 1,566 8.9
Careless driving without due care or attention(7) 34,675 28,614 82.5 28,615
Manslaughter 105 247 235.2 247 215 61.6
Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm 5,467 1,733 31.7 1,734 1,548 43.7
  2008(8)
Offence description Proceeded against Found guilty(3) Conviction ratio (percentage)(4) Sentenced(5) Of which: Immediate custody ACSL (months)(6)
Causing death by dangerous driving 266 221 83.1 221 206 48.8
Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs 27 46 170.4 46 45 46.6
Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving 2 4 200.0 4
Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers 1 1 100.0
Causing bodily harm by furious driving 15 11 73.3 11 4 11.2
Dangerous driving 3,940 3,534 89.7 3,664 1,386 9.5
Careless driving without due care or attention(7) 47,924 40,686 84.9 40,689
Manslaughter 117 268 229.1 268 233 59.2
Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm 5,836 1,661 28.5 1,664 1,548 49.4
  2009
Offence description Proceeded against Found guilty(3) Conviction ratio (percentage)(4) Sentenced(5) Of which: Immediate custody ACSL (months)(6)
Causing death by dangerous driving 252 225 89.3 233 218 44.2
Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs 29 35 120.7 35 33 45.5
Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving 178 81 45.5 73 3 14.6
Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers 19 11 57.9 10 1 5.4
Causing bodily harm by furious driving 18 12 66.7 12 5 9.6
Dangerous driving 3,887 3,387 87.1 3,484 1,309 9.1
Careless driving without due care or attention(7) 53,512 46,601 87.1 46,603
Manslaughter 95 227 238.9 227 206 65
Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm 6,672 1,676 25.1 1,674 1,553 52.1
  2010
Offence description Proceeded against Found guilty(3) Conviction ratio (percentage)(4) Sentenced(5) Of which: Immediate custody ACSL (months)(6)
Causing death by dangerous driving 196 154 78.6 158 140 49.1
Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs 34 41 120.6 41 40 45.5
Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving 285 238 83.5 236 45 15.4
Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers 22 22 100.0 22 4 8.4
Causing bodily harm by furious driving 11 4 36.4 4 2 15
Dangerous driving 3,495 3,182 91.0 3,175 1,134 9.7
Careless driving without due care or attention(7) 55,188 48,576 88.0 48,582
Manslaughter 80 222 277.5 222 205 74
Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm 6,789 1,737 25.6 1,734 1,604 54.2
  2011
Offence description Proceeded against Found guilty(3) Conviction ratio (percentage)(4) Sentenced(5) Of which: Immediate custody ACSL (months)(6)
Causing death by dangerous driving 175 114 65.1 115 110 48.7
Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs 22 35 159.1 35 35 52.3
Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving 249 234 94.0 231 46 15.3
Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers 17 21 123.5 18 5 8.4
Causing bodily harm by furious driving 13 7 53.8 7 4 5
Dangerous driving 3,271 2,901 88.7 2,904 1,123 9.8
Careless driving without due care or attention(7) 49,609 43,736 88.2 43,736
Manslaughter 72 192 266.7 192 166 78.8
Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm 6,012 1,779 29.6 1,777 1,652 59.8
* = Not applicable. (1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (3) The number of defendants found guilty in a particular year may exceed the number proceeded against as the proceedings in the magistrates court took place in an earlier year and the defendants were found guilty at the Crown court in the following year; or the defendants were found guilty of a different offence to that for which they were originally proceeded against. (4) The conviction ratio is based on the number of defendants found guilty in a particular year as a proportion of the number proceeded against in the same year. (5) The number of offenders sentenced can differ from those found guilty as it may be the case that a defendant found guilty in a particular year, and committed for sentence at the Crown court, may be sentenced in the following year. (6 )Excludes life and indeterminate sentences. (7) Includes offences of: failing to comply with an order to stop a moving vehicle; using a hand held mobile phone while driving; breach of requirements as to control of a vehicle; and other miscellaneous careless driving offences. (8) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

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