Dangerous driving in Scotland: bottlenecks on targeted issues

The guidelines provide for the killing of a vulnerable road user as an “aggravating factor” in sentencing.

A harsher penalty could also be imposed if death was due to aggressive driving, such as driving. B. tailgating, is due.

The aim of the Directive is to ensure more consistency in the sentencing of those who plead guilty or are convicted of the crime and to improve public understanding of how such cases are handled by the courts.

It covers four offences: homicide by dangerous driving; cause of death due to careless driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; cause of death from careless or reckless driving; and cause of death from driving without a license, without insurance, or without a license.

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The final directive, following public consultation on a draft version, has been strengthened in several areas and will now go to the Supreme Court for approval.


Aggressive driving such as B. Hitting the tailgate has been added to the maximum penalty range for a dangerous driving kill, putting it on par with running.

A number of penalties for homicide by negligent or reckless driving, and homicide by driving without insurance, without a license or without a license have also been increased.

In addition, driver inexperience was removed from the list of mitigating factors for all offenses except cause of death from careless or reckless driving.

The policy also establishes sentencing frameworks to help judges determine an appropriate sentence when dealing with an offender.

The ranges, which go up to 12 years in prison for the most serious deaths from dangerous traffic offences, are based on current practice and reflect the upper limits of penalties imposed by Scottish courts.

In addition to consultation, the Directive has been shaped by extensive research and engagement by the Council, including a public perception study involving victims’ families and a national survey examining public attitudes towards sentencing in Scotland.


The leader of the council, Lady Dorrian, Lord Justice Clerk, said: “Causing deaths from traffic offenses is among the most serious, complex and sensitive cases dealt with in our courts.”

“Although relatively rare, they are of great public concern and have a devastating impact on victims’ families.

“While nothing can make up for the tragic loss of life involved, we believe that a sentencing guideline will bring clarity to bereaved families and others affected by driving-related deaths.”

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“It will assist judges in the difficult task of deciding sentencing and will help increase public understanding and awareness of the law and sentencing practice surrounding traffic fatalities.”

“Following the consultation process, the Directive has been strengthened in a number of areas, such as including aggressive driving as the top category of fatal traffic offense homicide.

“In addition, a number of factors have been added to the list of aggravated offenses and the penalties for certain crimes have been increased.

“I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to review the guideline and respond to the consultation.

“The feedback we have received and the Council’s broader research have been critical in ensuring the policy is fit for purpose.”

Grace Reader

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