Drivers could face seven years in jail for causing a fatal crash while using a hand-held mobile phone.

The new recommendations come from the Sentencing Guidelines Council which has also indicated that causing death while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could now attract a sentence of 14 years.

A longer sentence will now be imposed when a greater amount of alcohol or drugs are present in a drivers system.

Drivers who are involved in a fatal crash while uninsured face a ban of up to two years. This could have implications for employees using their own cars for company business without the appropriate insurance.

A new offence of causing death by careless driving has been created, with a recommended maximum custodial sentence of three years.

“The new offence of causing death by careless driving recognises the enormous level of harm caused by the offence,” said Council member Chief Constable Peter Neyroud. “This has been welcomed by those representing the families and friends of victims.”

Dairmuid Fahy risk and safety expert at ING Car Lease has welcomed the new laws on death caused by uninsured drivers, saying: “These new recommendations will force companies to sit up and take more notice of the potentially hidden danger presented by employees running, licensing and insuring their own cars for business use.”

Fahy continued: “This blind spot the fleet industry has for private and cash allowance drivers is a real issue for businesses and one that can only increase as the new recommendations to courts begin to bite.”