In a major hardening of sentencing guidelines, UK ministers will propose raising the upper limit of imprisonment for dangerous drivers who kill from 14 years to a lifetime.
It is designed to send a “clear message” that people who cause “immeasurable pain” to families with reckless driving should be given a “punishment that fits the crime”.
The move comes after a string of high-profile cases where children have been killed when people at the wheel failed to brake while being distracted by their phones.
Last year, 122 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving and a further 21 people were convicted for killing someone when under the influence of drink or drugs.
Ministers have become concerned at whether the punishments are harsh enough, with evidence showing the average sentence for causing death while driving is less than four years.
Sam Gyimah, the justice minister, said: “Killer drivers ruin lives. Their actions cause immeasurable pain to families, who must endure tragic, unnecessary losses.
My message is clear – if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads, you could face a life sentence
Sam Gyimah, justice minister said, “While impossible to compensate for the death of a loved one, we are determined to make sure the punishment fits the crime.
“My message is clear – if you drive dangerously and kill on our roads, you could face a life sentence.”
Ministers will tomorrow propose increasing the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving or when under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life.
They will also suggest creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, with a maximum sentence of three years.