SENTENCING RECKLESS OR NEGLIGENT DRIVING
Keywords:reckless driving, sentencing offenders, negligent driving
Combating reckless or negligent driving is a focal point of road safety policy. The problem of reckless or negligent driving is complicated by the psychological aspect of risk-taking, which appears to be an almost universal phenomenon amongst drivers (Faith Crash – The Limits of Car Safety (1997) 136):
“The art of life – and the art of driving – is not to minimize risk because it would mean we would stay at home and refuse to participate in all road use. No, the art of life, of meeting the challenge that is posed by risk, is to take the precise amount of risk, no more, no less, that is necessary to maximise the benefits from the activity in question, as in driving, for instance” (citing Prof Gerald Wilde in Faith 136).
The criminal law has been enlisted to deal with the problem of dangerous driving in its various forms, which has had the effect of changing conceptions of criminality. It seems that “[c]ontrary to the popular conception of the criminal as a thief or a thug, the typical criminal today is the motorist” (Fitzgerald Criminal Law and Punishment (1962) 65). As Blom-Cooper and Morris (With Malice Aforethought (2004) 147) have commented:
“There is little doubt that the aggressive, anti-social driver remains deeply unpopular, and, while it is recognised that not all drivers involved in road traffic incidents are equally culpable, those who are deemed to be seriously so would appear to be increasingly the subject of public concern.”
Bearing these factors in mind, this note seeks to briefly traverse the most significant aspects of sentencing offenders who have committed the offences of reckless driving or negligent driving.
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