Keeping Up Is Hard to Do:
A Trial Judge’s Reading Blog


The Scottish Sentencing Council has released a “sentencing guideline” for offences involving the causing of death by driving (causing death by dangerous driving; causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; causing death by careless driving; and causing death by driving: unlicensed, uninsured or disqualified drivers).

Causing Death by Dangerous Driving:

For this offence, the Sentencing Commission indicates that a sentencing judge “should determine which level of seriousness – A, B, or C – the case before it falls into, having regard to these features, or to any other features which the court considers relevant to its assessment of seriousness” (at paragraph 10).

The Commission states that “[i]n every case the court should arrive at a fair assessment of the level of seriousness, considering all of the circumstances of the offence. Where features are present from more than one level, the court should balance the relative significance of these features in arriving at a decision as to which level of seriousness the case falls into. Where multiple features from level B or C are present, that may indicate that the case should be assessed as having a higher level of seriousness” (at paragraph 11).

The Commission suggests that the following features will place the offence in the most serious level (at page 5):

-Prolonged and deliberate course of bad or aggressive driving, with a disregard for the danger being caused to others.


-Gross impairment through the voluntary consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs, or through the consumption of legal drugs or medication where the offender knew, or should have known, about the likelihood of impairment, or through other causes.

The Commission indicates that the range of sentence for the offence of dangerous driving causing death that falls with level A is: “7 – 12 years’ custody” (at page 6).