LONDON, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Motorists who cause death by dangerous driving face life in prison, Britain's Ministry of Justice (MOJ) announced Sunday.
The toughest-ever punishments are being introduced following a public consultation exercise by the government which called for harsher penalties for people who drive irresponsibly and devastate lives.
Life sentences, the most severe punishment in British law, will be introduced for causing death by dangerous driving, and for careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs
There will also be new offence of causing serious injury through careless driving, said the MOJ.
A campaign for life behind bars has been led by families of victims of people killed by drivers speeding, racing on the roads or using cellphone while behind the steering wheel. The current maximum sentence is 14 years in prison.
The move comes after an overwhelming response to a government consultation which revealed substantial backing for the plans from a wide range of people including victims, bereaved families and road safety experts.
Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: "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."
Raab said the changes in the law will reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims.
Last year, 157 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving, with a further 32 convicted of causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Around 70 percent of responses to the government consultation called for the maximum penalty to be increased to life imprisonment.
The MOJ said the government is now planning to consider increasing minimum driving bans for drivers convicted of causing serious death.
The legislation for the new tougher penalties will now go before parliament as soon as possible to bring them into operation in the courts.