Previously if someone caused death by careless driving then they could not be handed down a custodial sentence. This not only denied the aggrieved families justice for the wrongful death of their loved ones, it also made it much harder to implement restrictions on improper driving practice such as dialling and driving. Hands free phones are so readily available now that the negligent practice of dialling and driving has been re-evaluated and now qualifies under a new law which can hand out custodial sentences to those who cause death or serious injury by careless driving.
The current legal system can deliver a sentence of up to 14 years for someone convicted of dangerous driving however until recently if someone caused death by careless driving then they would simply walk away with a fine. The case of a 14 year old Brit is a perfect example; Jessica Leigh was killed by a motorist speeding at 60mph in a 30mph speed limit and the convicted killer driver pled not guilty. Despite being convicted of death by careless driving the driver was 300GBP and 6 penalty points.
This would also cover drivers who neglect to use hands free phones or drive while unlicensed even if there was no fault with driving. So an unlicensed driver who kills a pedestrian will be subject to a custodial sentence because they are not meant to be on the road, therefore the incident would not have happened if they had obeyed the law. The same principle is applied to people who do not use hands free phones, as if they had obeyed legislation regarding hands free phones the accident would not have happened.
This legislative change has been described as overdue by many and the Ministry of Justice has listed the number of unacceptable distractions as non hands free phones, texting, drinking and eating, adjusting CPS or stereo, applying make-up or reading a map, the list has also been extended to using a smart-phone or BlackBerry. It is estimated that 40 percent of drivers will still use phones without hands free phone kits whilst operating a vehicle and road safety groups are hoping that this step in the right direction will act as a deterrent to dial drivers.Hands free phones are available from a multitude of providers and range in style and cost. Most can only accommodate incoming calls whilst driving, as to make a call you still need to dial which will cause a distraction. Some new technology provides hands free phones with voice dialling capabilities, this enables you to dial by just saying a name which is pre-recorded and linked to your address book.