Last updated 15 February 2019
A person who intentionally kills a person by using a motor vehicle can be charged with murder. The mandatory penalty for murder is life imprisonment. A person who drives a motor vehicle in a criminally negligent way and causes the death of another person can face a manslaughter charge (ss 300, 302, 303 Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) (Criminal Code)). Criminal negligence means more than a mere failure to take reasonable care. It means a high degree of carelessness or recklessness showing a disregard for the life and safety of others. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
Charges of manslaughter arising from the driving of a motor vehicle are usually reserved for the worst categories of driving. Dangerous driving causing death is the more common charge. In these circumstances it is open to the jury hearing a manslaughter charge to convict of the lesser offence of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death (s 328B Criminal Code).