Punishing drivers who kill: putting road safety first?



This article seeks to argue that the new offence of causing death by careless driving is undesirable and ought not to have been created. From a legal perspective, the offence goes against some fundamental principles of criminal law and, from a practical view, it will fail to rectify previous problems with the pre-existing offences available as criminal charges in cases of road death. Furthermore, it will not satisfy the public’s appetite for a more punitive approach to drivers who kill. It will be argued that the law in this area should not be driven by this latter consideration but that it should be used primarily as a method of increasing road safety. A radical alternative offence structure of general driving offences is proposed with this as its objective.