Drivers who kill others after speeding, racing, using a phone or due to impaired driving (under the influence of drink or drugs) could receive life sentences under new legislation, while the current maximum sentence is of 14 years.
The reform was announced last week in the and will be introduced in the UK Parliament early next year.
With the current lack of specificity in the law, drivers causing injuries or death can be only convicted of careless driving. This change was firstly announced in 2017 and now it seems there is actually going to be a timeframe stating when it will come into force.
The increase will apply to offences in England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, which has separate road safety laws.
A consultation carried out in 2016 gave support for the new driving offence measures from victims, road safety campaigners and people who had lost loved ones. Of the 9,000 who responded, 90% thought there should be a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving. In addition, 70% of those who responded agreed the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving should be increased to life imprisonment.
Last year, 174 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, and another 19 for causing death by careless driving.