As of 28th June 2022, there is a new category of careless driving offence coming into force which may see drivers being prosecuted for causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate driving.
This new offence, inserted into the Road Traffic Act 1988 as section 2c is intended to address inconsiderate or careless driving offences that result in serious injury outcomes.
Under existing law, where a driver's standard of driving falls below the standard of a competent and careful driver, they can face prosecution for the offence of 'Driving Without Due Care & Attention', commonly referred to as 'Careless Driving'.
Where driving falls far below this standard, so as it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that to drive in such a way was dangerous, they can face prosecution for the offence of 'Dangerous Driving'.
Penalties for the new offense
TLDR: Mandatory disqualification and potentially imprisonable
Where a driver is convicted of the offence of careless or inconsiderate driving then they are normally looking at licence endorsement of between 3 to 9 points on their driving record unless the court imposes a discretionary disqualification.
But under the new more serious offense, a Magistrate's Court in England and Wales could impose a fine or custodial sentence up to a maximum of 12 months.
In a Crown Court, this can be up to 2 years imprisonment, and will include a mandatory disqualification. If a driver can demonstrate "special reasons" exist for not being disqualified then the court can impose between 3 and 11 penalty points.
influence of drugs or alcohol
TLDR: If a driver is convicted of 'causing death by dangerous driving when under the influence of drink or drugs' sentencing changes from 14 years to life.
The changes introduced on 28 June 2022 were brought about through the Police Crime and Sentencing Act 2022 which also amends the existing legislation concerning the sentencing of drivers convicted of the offences of 'Causing Death by Dangerous Driving' and 'Causing Death by Careless Driving When Under the Influence of Drink or Drugs'
Where a driver is convicted of either offence then the maximum available sentences for such will increase from 14 years imprisonment to a sentence of life imprisonment.