Motorists who kill victims while using mobile phones, drink-driving or speeding could be jailed for the life under new laws.
The Government will introduce tougher penalties for reckless drivers after thousands of people backed stronger punishments during a public consultation.
The death by dangerous driving penalty is to be raised from the 14-year maximum to a maximum life sentence deter speeders and people who use their mobile phones at the wheel. And careless drivers who kill while on drink or drugs will also face life.
The move comes after government ministers were deluged by 9,000 submissions from victims, bereaved families and road safety campaigners calling for tougher sentencing. Many were furious the maximum was rarely imposed.
Ninety per cent of respondents said they believed there was sufficient need for a new offence of causing injury by careless driving, while 70 per cent thought that the maximum penalty for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving should be increased to life.
Latest figures now show 157 motorists were convicted of causing death by dangerous driving last year in England, and 32 of causing death by careless driving while drunk or drugged. Now the offences will be put on par with manslaughter.
Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “We’ve taken a long hard look at driving sentences, and we received 9,000 submissions to our consultation.
“Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.
“We will introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, punishable by imprisonment, to fill a gap in the law and reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case.”