Causing Death by Dangerous Driving

Causing Death by Dangerous Driving is an offence that can only be tried before the Crown Court.

The offence is defined in section 1 of the Road Traffic 1988:
A person who causes the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence.

Usually the most important aspects of the offence are whether the driving was:


and if so whether the dangerous driving

caused the death of the victim.

The test of whether someone is driving dangerously is an objective one, in order to amount to dangerous driving the standard of driving must fall far below that which is expected of a competent and careful driver.

The speed of driving alone is not sufficient to establish dangerous driving but driving at high speeds may be dangerous in the circumstances of the case.

Examples of driving which may amount to dangerous driving include: racing, inappropriate speed in the prevailing road or traffic conditions, sudden lane changing, cutting into a line of vehicles, driving too close to the vehicle in front, ignoring traffic lights or signs, unsafe overtaking, driving knowing there is a dangerous defect with the vehicle, driving in a dangerous state such as through a lack of sleep, a medical condition or through alcohol.

The prosecution need to prove that the dangerous driving in fact caused the death to follow. The manner of driving does not have to be the substantial or a major cause of an accident as long it is a cause and is not so minor as to be irrelevant. The law states that juries do not have to believe that the driving was the principal or substantial cause of death as long as they are sure that it was a cause and that there was more than a slight or trifling link to the death.

More info to follow.

The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years imprisonment. The Court must also impose a ban of at least 2 years unless there are special reasons not to do so.

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