Justice Minister gets tough on cycling deaths
NEWS Staff Reporter AS ANOTHER cyclist died on Spain’s roads last weekend, the government was launching proposals for tougher sentences to be imposed on motorists who are involved in such accidents.
A longer prison sentence could be handed to any driver found guilty of causing a death, and a new offence of leaving the scene of an accident may be introduced.
The 66-year-old victim of Saturday morning’s accident on the CM-4004 road in Toledo died after being struck by a car whose driver abandoned his vehicle and fled into the countryside. A 28year-old man was later detained nearby at his home in Palomeque.
Justice minister Rafael Catalá, who announced the plans to amend the country’s Penal Code on Friday, said these would include an improved definition of recklessness which leads to penalties, and will regard as 'serious' any offence related to speeding or the effects of drugs and alcohol.
The maximum custodial sentence, he continued, will rise from four to nine years if an offence resulted in death.
Introducing a sentence of up to four years for leaving the scene of an accident, the minister underlined that the offence will be regarded as being different from recklessness. He described the action of leaving someone injured or dying as an “intrinsic evil”.
The minister said the proposals had been prompted by his meeting with the wife of a cyclist who died in an accident with a lorry whose driver fled the scene but was condemned only for a misdemeanour. He also noted that there had been a recent spike in the number of cyclists who have died in traffic accidents.
The changes, he added, will be made “as soon as possible”, probably reaching parliament in September.
Catalá wants stiffer sentences brought in as soon as possible