Death by Driving Public Consultation

Closed 22 Nov 2022

Opened 30 Aug 2022

Results updated 28 Aug 2023

Analysis of responses to the consultation on the Council’s draft sentencing guideline, “Statutory offences of causing death by driving”, was undertaken by Alison Platts and Dawn Griesbach on behalf of the Council. The analysis was published on 24 August 2023.

The Council's report on the consultation, which sets out our views on the key points raised and indicates how we have adjusted our approach as a result, was also published on 24 August 2023.


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Cases involving causing death by driving offences, as with any cases involving the loss of life, are of particular public concern and can be among the most serious and complex which come before the courts for sentence.

We believe a guideline will provide an opportunity to assist public understanding of the law and practice in relation to the complexities of sentencing in these cases. There are particular challenges for the courts in sentencing death by driving cases: circumstances can vary significantly between cases and there can often be a large discrepancy between the harm caused and the culpability (or level of blame) of the offender. In addition, there are comparatively few death by driving cases, meaning that sentencers may be less familiar with the sentencing exercise.

We are seeking views on our draft guideline on the statutory offences involving causing death by driving. 

The draft guideline being consulted on will, if approved, be the first offence specific guideline developed for use by the Scottish courts. It is intended to be read alongside the principles and purposes and sentencing process guidelines, and, where applicable, the sentencing young people guideline.

The consultation asks questions first on the overall style and structure of the guideline and its interaction with other guidelines, second on the content of the guidance contained within the guideline, and last on the potential impacts of the guideline.

Why your views matter

The Council is committed to carrying out public consultations on all our guidelines. This is a key part of the guideline development process and we are keen to hear from all those with an interest in our work. We aim to engage with as wide and diverse an audience as possible in developing our guidelines to ensure that they are fit for purpose. This includes the wider public as well as criminal justice organisations, charities, academics, and other interested organisations.

If you are unable to respond to this consultation online, please contact the Scottish Sentencing Council directly to discuss alternative arrangements.

Consultation materials

The consultation paper, draft sentencing guideline, and draft impact assessment are available for download:

Statutory offences of causing death by driving - consultation paper

Statutory offences of causing death by driving - draft guideline

Statutory offences of causing death by driving - draft impact assessment


To respond to this consultation, please complete the survey below.

What happens next

Analysis of the responses to this consultation can be found here.

The council's report on the consultation can be found here.


  • All judiciary
  • Advocates
  • Solicitors
  • Offender support organisations
  • Victim support organisations


  • Offence specific guidelines