Tougher penalties for traffic offences in Sweden

The Swedish government plans to increase the penalty for drink driving and carelessness on the road. The minimum punishment will be raised and a new crime classification will be introduced.

“Instead of changing the boundaries for manslaughter we are introducing a completely new penalty clause,” said Justice Minister Thomas Bodström.

‘Causing another person’s death in traffic’ is currently classified as manslaughter and carries a minimum sentence of six months’ imprisonment. But under the new proposals the minimum penalty will be one year in jail and the maximum will be six years.

Another new clause which is being proposed is ‘causing injury or illness in traffic’, which will carry a sentence of between six months and four years.

Bodström believes that the new laws could be used in drink driving cases and when speeding causes traffic accidents.

“This is the best way to demonstrate the seriousness. There are still 150 people every year dying in traffic because of alcohol,” he said.

The drink driving inquiry which submitted its findings to the government in January said that the scale of punishments was adequate. But the government’s amendments will be completed in May.

Meanwhile, a disturbing report has revealed an increase in drivers coming off the ferries in Ystad in southern Sweden.

More than twice as many drivers have been caught over the alcohol limit this year compared to the same period last year.

So far, 32 drivers have been arrested for drink driving, compared to 14 by this time last year. Around two thirds of those caught were truck drivers.

Infrastructure minister Ulrica Messing told TT that companies and others who import large quantities of goods on trucks should demand alcohol safety devices in the cabins.

“When people order goods from other companies they could also demand that those goods are transported by a sober driver,” she said.

TT/The Local