Road homicide: what may change with this new offense

The National Assembly must discuss the adoption of a bill aimed at establishing a new offense, “road” homicide.

Road homicide: what may change with this new offense

The National Assembly must discuss the adoption of a bill aimed at establishing a new offense, “road” homicide.

Long awaited by victim support associations, the bill proposing the creation of the offense of “road homicide” is being discussed in the National Assembly this Monday, January 29. This bill was supported by the interministerial committee for road safety in July 2023, a few months after Pierre Palmade's accident in February 2023. The comedian caused an accident while driving under the influence of drugs. . He hit the car of a family head-on, three of whose passengers were injured, including a child and a pregnant woman who then lost her baby.

The introduction of this new offense mainly contains a symbolic development. Indeed, the term road homicide would in reality replace the offense of “involuntary homicide with aggravating circumstances”. The aim of the text discussed today in the Assembly is essentially to better define homicides committed on the roads by emphasizing "aggravating circumstances". Nevertheless, "it was a strong request from the victims' families", as Maud Escriva, general delegate of the Victimes et Avenir association, to Le Monde, explains. She adds that the “term involuntary was very hard for them to hear”. For others, it is a real legal breakthrough. This is what LR MP Eric Pauget, co-rapporteur of the text to the Assembly, puts forward, to the Huffingtonpost, who explains: “We dared to touch on the fundamentals of French law, the notion of intentional homicide and homicide. involuntary, by creating a new autonomous and independent offense".

Concretely, this law composed of two articles broadens the definition of aggravating circumstance. Previously, these circumstances referred to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, driving without a license and speeding over 50 km/h. The bill adds the use of a cell phone while driving, failure to assist a person in danger and driving under the influence of legal psychoactive substances (such as medication or nitrous oxide). The text also plans to increase speeding to 30 km/h instead of 50 km/h. Another change brought about by this bill is the increase in the number of additional penalties which includes the confiscation of the vehicle with which the accident was committed. And this, even if it belongs to a third person. Also, the text plans to make sentencing mandatory in the event of alcohol or drug consumption. The suspension of the driving license will also be extended with the possibility of canceling it and not being able to repeat it for 10 years.

What will not change, however, are the prison sentences incurred by the perpetrators of “road homicide”. Just as was involuntary homicide with an aggravating circumstance, “road homicide” will be punishable by seven years in prison and a fine of 100,000 euros. From two cumulative aggravating circumstances, the penalty can be up to 10 years in prison (which corresponds to the maximum possible for an offense) and a fine of 150,000 euros.

NEXT NEWS