MP seeks tougher drink-driving penalties

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A Conservative MP has proposed legislation to introduce tougher penalties for repeat drink drivers, arguing that current law is not a powerful enough deterrent.

Rehman Chishti introduced his Drink Driving (Repeat Offenders) Bill under the ten minute rule motion on 3 July 2013.

He said 1,570 people were killed or injured from drink-driving accidents in 2011 "which is up on the previous year".

He told MPs that more people are killed from drink-driving than knife crime.

"Yet the maximum penalty for knife crime and carrying a knife is four years imprisonment, compared to the lower six months for drink driving."

The Gillingham and Rainham MP said 12% of offenders will go on to drink drive again, and that reoffending rates are "even higher" for the most serious offenders.

He explained that his bill would see the majority of drivers receive a non-custodial sentence, such as a fine or a driving ban, for their first drink-driving offence, with a custodial sentence or community penalty for a second offence.

Drivers caught under the influence for a third time or more could be given up to two years in prison.

"This measure would provide courts with the tools they need to tackle those who persist in flouting the law," he argued.

Mr Chishti's bill received an unopposed first reading but it is unlikely to become law without government support.

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