Causing death by careless driving should be considered manslaughter

Cars and vehicles on the Pan-Island Expressway near Bedok Reservoir Road.
Cars and vehicles on the Pan-Island Expressway near Bedok Reservoir Road.PHOTO: ST FILE

Although increasing mandatory minimum jail sentences to penalise dangerous and careless driving that causes death is a step in the right direction (Irresponsible drivers to face longer jail terms, stiffer fines, July 9), I feel that charging a culprit with "causing death by careless driving" does not sufficiently reflect the gravity of the transgression and the loss that is felt by the victim's loved ones.

When a life is lost, the charges should reflect the seriousness of the offence and provide some solace to those affected.

I propose that such offenders be charged with manslaughter, which is commensurate with the gravity of the loss of life and carries a heavier sentence.

This is practised in other countries, which impose a sentence of 10 years or more if the offender kills someone on the road.

Be it knife or car, it should be considered an offensive weapon if the culprit uses it carelessly to the point of costing someone else his life.

The term "careless driving" should be reserved for non-fatal accidents. It is time charges were reviewed to reflect the gravity of the offence.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2019, with the headline 'Causing death by careless driving should be considered manslaughter'. Print Edition | Subscribe