As of Tuesday 28-6-2022, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 came into force, changing some current laws and creating some new ones. The most important changes that drivers need to be aware of are below:
Changes to offences of Causing death by dangerous driving, and causing death by careless when under the influence of drink or drugs
- Where a person is found guilty or pleads guilty, the maximum custodial sentence was 14 years, but this has now increased to life (note – this is only an increase to the maximum sentence so will only affect the most serious of cases).
- Where a person is found guilty or pleads guilty, the minimum ban was 2 years, but has now increased to 5 years.
Causing serious injury by careless driving
- This is a new offence.
- “Serious injury” is injury to the standard of GBH – which is a broken bone or broken skin. “Careless driving” is the usual standard where a person’s driving falls below that of a careful and competent driver.
- The sentence – where someone is found guilty or pleads guilty – will be an obligatory 12 month ban, in addition to a maximum 12 month custody at the Magistrates’ Court, or 2 years at the Crown Court.
Courses offered as alternative to prosecution
- Allows a law for the Secretary of State or the Department for Justice to set fees for courses (such as the driver improvement course, a speed awareness course etc). Currently the fee payable is up to course provider/police policy.
- Allows a law for the Secretary of State or Department for Justice to legislate to state a driver cannot do a course if a similar course has been completed within 3 years. Currently, that is only police policy.
- Those laws are not in yet – this is just the initial framework to allow it in future.
Surrender of licences
- The defendant must bring their driving licence to a court hearing.
- Other than that, where the defendant is responding to a Single Justice Procedure, or is being disqualified in their absence, the Court MAY require a licence, not must.
- There is a new offence of failing to surrender a driving licence to the DVLA without reasonable excuse. This will usually be where the DVLA have requested the return of the licence on disqualification. The punishment for this will be a fine only.
- Fixed penalties (ie where a driver is offered points/fine instead of court proceedings) currently require the driver to surrender their licence in order to accept them. However they may no longer require you to surrender your licence as long as you have fulfuilled ‘identification requirements’.
For the full list of changes in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, see the legislation in full: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2022/32/contents/enacted