Fortunately this decision comes from the lawcourts in America but one wonders whether it could one day have any relevance in this country?
Two men who sent a text to a friend while she was driving could be held partially responsible for the death of the man she knocked over. A judge has ruled that both men could face charges if it can be proved that they knew the driver was at the wheel when they sent text messages to her. The driver knocked a motorcyclist from his bike whilst driving, causing injuries from which he died. The driver was using her mobile phone at the time of the accident. The family for the deceased have called for the friends who were sending the text is to be held partially responsible for causing death by dangerous driving
It is highly unlikely that aperson not even physically present within the car at the time of a fatal accident could be held responsible for causing death by dangerous driving. Not only would they have to prove that the texter knew the driver was in the car but also that they would read the text whilst driving. It is interesting that in many states in America, staff who serve alcohol to patrons that they know will then drive home do get a partial responsibility if there is a road traffic accident and there is a prosecution for causing death by dangerous driving. In that case there is a clear link between serving the alcohol and the accident, only if the staff are aware that the person intends to drive having been over the drink drive limit.
Drivers who face a prosecution for causing death by dangerous driving
could face more onerous penalties by way of extended prison sentences if found guilty. This was following a recent sentence review announced by the Prime Minister.
The Ministry of Justice is reviewing the law in relation to causing death by dangerous driving and, in particular, the penalties to be handed out.
At the moment, the offence of causing death by dangerous driving carries a minimum prison sentence of one year and disqualification from driving for at least two years. Following conviction of a motorist a court can hand out prison sentences of up to 14 years. It is unusual for such a lengthy prison sentence to be imposed. The average prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is just below five years. This has been steadily increasing over the last few years.
The proposed increase in penalties for causing death by dangerous driving demonstrates how essential it is to have a specialist traffic lawyer representing the motorist at court. This is a highly specialised and technical field. Given the potential outcomes, motorist would be well advised to seek the services of a specialist traffic defence lawyer. Any one time we have we are representing a number of motorists charged with the offence of causing death by dangerous driving
and are highly experienced in this field.