HC Deb 29 October 1999 vol 336 cc1024-5W
Mrs. Brinton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has(a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the issue of deaths caused by negligent or dangerous driving. [95110]

Mr. Hill

[holding answer 25 October 1999]: I have been asked to reply.

Research is currently in progress to study the effect of the Road Traffic Act 1991 on prosecutions for dangerous driving. The project, which is being undertaken for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions by the Transport Research Laboratory, began in May 1998 and is due to be completed in October 2000.

Issues covered by the study include: whether there is sufficiently clear guidance on the law and its purpose, and how this affects the choice of penalty; comparison of sentencing trends before and since the 1991 Act; and how the changes in the definition of "bad driving" offences have been implemented by police and courts.

The aim is to obtain an understanding of what leads prosecutors and courts to select one offence or one penalty rather than another. By examining the whole procedure from charging to sentencing, it may be possible to identify ways of improving practice, so as to deter poor driving more effectively.

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