Under CPS guidance on charging practices for driving offences ‘driving whilst avoidably and dangerously distracted such as whilst reading a newspaper/map, talking to and looking at a passenger, selecting and lighting a cigarette or by adjusting the controls of electronic equipment’ is considered dangerous driving. The driver in this case should, therefore, have been charged with both causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving and it should have been left to the prosecution to fight the case on the basis that he was avoidably and dangerously distracted by his satnav. This case demonstrates a clear error on the part of the CPS in not charging for the more serious offence.
The maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving is 5 years imprisonment, a £5000 fine and an unlimited driving ban. The sentence handed down was, therefore, minimal compared with what could have been imposed.