Motorists who use mobiles or smoke at the wheel could be looking at up to 2 years in jail under new guidelines.
Using a mobile phone, satnav or an MP3 player while at the wheel will be treated as dangerous driving instead of careless driving, carrying a maximum sentence of 2 years in prison.
The penalty for the previous careless driving offence is a community service order or a fine.
Under the new guidance other activities regarded as dangerous and carry a jail term include racing, lighting a cigarette, reading a map or newspaper, making sudden lane changes, and driving too close to the vehicle in front.
The new measures would also mean drivers in England and Wales who cause death on the roads could also be jailed for life and the new guidance means the worst cases of death by dangerous driving could be prosecuted as manslaughter.