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Home Office minister, Charles Clarke
"The courts will be able to make the punishment fit the crime"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 19 December, 2000, 05:19 GMT
Dangerous drivers face tougher penalties
car crash
The government has a target for reducing road deaths
Plans to impose tougher punishments for serious driving offences will be outlined by the government on Tuesday.

A new punishment system for those who drive at more than 100mph, more disqualifications for speeding and drink driving, and harsher sentences for drivers who kill, are among the proposals that Home Office minister Charles Clarke is expected to reveal.

Causing death by dangerous driving can already result in 10 years imprisonment - but the courts rarely dish out the maximum sentence.

While Britain's overall road safety record is good, it has one of the worst child pedestrian fatality rates in Europe with 1.3 deaths per 100,000 children - 15 children are killed or seriously hurt each day on its roads.

British road deaths
In 1998, 3,421 were killed
Worst year was 1941 when 9,169 died
Second worst child death rate in EU
About 15 children killed/injured per day

The government has set itself a target of reducing child deaths and serious injuries on the roads by 50% by 2010.

It also wants to reduce overall deaths and serious injuries on the roads by 40% by 2010, while reducing slight injuries by 10%.

Other measures could include a "two-strikes" rule banning drivers for up to 10 years if they commit a second drink-driving or serious speeding offence.

Lifetime bans will be considered for drivers who break the law three times.

The current 12-points system for banning drivers who break the law will also be re-examined.

Serious offences

A 20-points system is being considered so courts can differentiate more clearly between minor and serious offences.

Another of the proposals under consideration is new police powers to temporarily impound the cars of people who drive while banned.

As many as 800,000 people are driving in Britain without a licence or insurance, according to research.

The RAC Foundation said the majority of motorists will be in favour of tougher penalties for the most dangerous drivers.

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