Motorists who cause death by dangerous driving or careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs could get the harshest punishment.
A new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving could also carry the lifetime sentence, the Times reported.
Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC said: “These will be brought in as soon as there is a legislative opportunity”.
It comes after cycling champ Chris Boardman, 41, slammed the “farcical” 30-week sentence handed to Liam Rosney, 33, for running over and killing his mum Carol, 75.
Rosney hit Mrs Boardman four seconds after finishing a phone call to his wife and admitted causing death by careless driving at Mold magistrates court on Thursday.
Ministers have said that drivers who cause death by speeding, racing, or using a mobile phone could face sentences equivalent to manslaughter, with maximum penalties raised from 14 years to life.
Offenders who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will also face life sentences and a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will be created.
The move follows a government consultation which revealed substantial backing for the plans from a wide range of people including victims, bereaved families and road safety experts.
The new offence of causing “serious injury” by careless driving is aimed at filling a gap in the law between death by careless driving, which is punishable by jail, and careless driving which is not.
A potential maximum sentence of two years has been imposed.
But Nick Freeman, the lawyer nicknamed “Mr Loophole” for getting celebrities off motoring offences, said: “I do not believe that the law requires change.”
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