The World Health Organisation estimates that 'road traffic deaths' currently run in the order of 1.35 million per year. The first study of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world, this book explores how the parliament, the criminal law and the courts responded to deaths occasioned by the use of motor vehicles over more than 70 years, including the extent to which the community and judiciary have been prepared to label driving conduct culpable. It pays special attention to the construction, employ and sentencing of alternative driving-causing-death offences as against vehicular manslaughter, alongside shifting social attitudes about what constitutes culpable fault behind the wheel.
Drawing on hundreds of cases, the book traces the development of the case law while observing key emerging themes, including approaches to multiple fatalities, outcomes in cases involving vulnerable road users, the difficulties associated with prosecuting drinking drivers, and, most importantly, trends in charging standards and sentencing. It seeks to explore why and how deaths on the road have been treated as a species apart.