A Bradford judge has called for the introduction of a 'three strikes and you're out' policy that would send dangerous drivers straight to prison after committing the same offence three times.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC made these proposals after he heard the case of James Mellor, 25, who had been caught dangerous driving for the fifth time. The judge remanded the offender in custody for one week while he decided whether to give the man a community sentence or to send him to jail.
Judge Durham Hall claimed the case was difficult to sentence, saying: "Do I give him 300 hours' unpaid work and a long period of disqualification or do I give him 15 months?"
James Mellor, a trainee plumber at Bradford College, committed his fifth dangerous driving offence on April 7 2011. He claimed that his passenger had ordered him to drive fast because he was a wanted man and he was trying to escape the police.
Mr Mellor drove at speeds of 60mph in a 30mph zone in the middle of the day, while being chased by the police.
Judge Durham Hall claimed that the two-year maximum prison sentence for dangerous driving is "woefully inadequate".
He believes that, in the same way as repeat offenders who are convicted of burglary or drug dealing are treated, dangerous drivers should be locked up on their 'third strike'.
Currently, a house burglar who commits a third offence will be automatically sentenced to three years in jail. Those caught drug dealing a third time will be sent to prison for seven years.
Judge Durham Hall said: "There should be an offence of aggravated dangerous driving - a three-striker."
In response to the call for tougher dangerous driving sentences, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said: "I am aware of the strong feeling on sentencing for serious dangerous driving cases.
"I am looking carefully at this issue. It is important that any change addresses the real harm caused by very serious driving offences."
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