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Drivers who kill distracted by their mobiles will face jail

New law to come into force this week will put drivers in prison

A new law introducing prison terms for motorists who kill while using a mobile telephone at the wheel will come into force this week.

The Ministry of Justice announced the new law. The new offence of causing death by careless driving will carry up to five years' imprisonment. It toughens the penalties for motorists who kill because they were ‘avoidably distracted’ this will include calling or texting on a mobile phone, drinking or eating, adjusting a satellite navigation system or car stereo, applying make-up or reading a map.

Those who cause fatal accidents while uninsured, disqualified or unlicensed could get up to two years imprisonment; previously the maximum punishment for similar crimes was a £5000 fine and points on your licence.

However, under recommendations issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) drivers convicted of the offence which involved ‘momentary inattention’ could escape with a community sentence but the most serious lapses in concentration should always incur jail terms up to a maximum of five years. The Ministry of Justice said it expected about 150 motorists a year to be jailed after being convicted of the "death by careless" offence, and about five a year for the "uninsured" offence.

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