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News digest: Fatal crash drivers face tougher punishments

News digest 20 October

A round-up of this week’s news from the world of fleet and motoring

Fatal crash drivers face life in prison under tough new laws

Drivers that cause fatal collisions could face life in prison under new legislation, the government has confirmed.

Motorists who cause death by, among others offences, speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or using a mobile phone while drivers are among those who could be handed the maximum punishment.

The government announcement follows a public consultation where thousands of people backed tougher penalties for the most serious road offences.

A new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will also be created.

The public consultation received 9,000 replies between December 2016 and February this year.

Around 90% of respondents backed the creation of the new offence, and 70% thought the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving should be increased from 14 years to life imprisonment, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The “vast majority” also agreed the punishment for causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink and drugs should also be life in jail.

Motorists sat in 3,700 traffic jams last year

Disruption on motorways and A roads caused 3,700 jams in just one 12-month period, according to new analysis.

The most severe traffic jams in the UK last year were caused by a fuel spill, broken down vehicles and an emergency viaduct repair.

In the worst cases, motorists were held up for as long as 15 hours.

The jams and delays cost drivers and businesses millions in wasted fuel and time, said traffic analysts Inrix who collated their findings by looking at disruption on motorways and A roads between September 2016 and August 2017.

The M5 in Somerset saw the longest disruption and biggest tailbacks while three of the top five jams were on the M6.

EV charge points to become mandatory

Government plans to make electric vehicle charge points mandatory at motorway service stations and some petrol stations took a step forward on Wednesday.

The government hopes the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, which received its First Reading in the House of Commons on 18 October, will drive take-up of EVs and aid the construction of greater infrastructure.

As well as requiring the introduction of charge points, the Bill will also stipulate all chargepoints will have to be ‘smart’, in order to avoid possible issues with national grid demand.

The news follows the announcement this week that Shell signed an agreement to buy NewMotion, one of Europe’s largest electric vehicle charging providers.

Earlier this week, MEPs voted for electric vehicle charging points to be a requirement in all new non-residential buildings.

The new Bill will also enable drivers of automated cars to be insured on UK roads which will include establishing the liability of insurers where an accident is caused by the automated vehicle itself.

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