There but for the grace of God? : a consideration of recent fatal road traffic cases – Zenith Chambers

“Since 18th August 2008 there has been an offence on the statute books which effectively criminalises what in many cases amount to little more than minor errors of judgement; this offence carries with it the prospect of the alleged offender being sent to prison for anything up to five years. Section 2B of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (inserted by the Road Safety Act 2006) introduced motorists to the offence of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving. It was undoubtedly enacted because of increased public (and tabloid) disquiet about the previous alternative to the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving (s1 RTA 1988); this was, of course, the much less serious charge of careless and inconsiderate driving (s3 RTA 1988), which carried only a financial penalty and a discretionary disqualification from driving. Since the implementation of s2B RTA 1988, however, the prosecuting authorities have become increasingly keen to charge drivers with this offence; indeed, matters now appear to have reached the point where their default position seems to be that simply because a fatality arises from a road traffic collision, then a prosecution must follow, irrespective of where the fault for the collision lies. The exercise of any proper judgement as to whether it is in the public interest to pursue a prosecution in
many such cases seems to have completely evaporated.”

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Zenith Chambers, 27th March 2012