Drivers who cause death by reckless driving, speeding, or whilst distracted by using a mobile phone could face life in prison under new government proposals.
Under plans put forward by the Ministry of Justice, drivers who cause death by driving dangerously or under the influence of alcohol or drugs could be treated in a similar way to those charged with manslaughter.
In a consultation that runs until 1 February, the government is also seeking views on whether the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs should reflect the same culpability as causing death by dangerous driving.
It also asks whether a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving should be introduced, and whether either two or three years would be an appropriate maximum penalty for such an offence.
The Ministry of Justice said sentencing for serious road traffic offences is sometimes perceived to be too lenient. The current maximum sentence is 14 years imprisonment.
In 2015, 122 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving. A further 21 were convicted of causing death while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
From next year, the penalty for using a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel will double from three driving licence points to six. On-the-spot fines will also rise from £100 to £200.