The government is getting tough on speeding motorists with new penalties that come into force from 24th April. You will no doubt have read news reports about top-level fines rising to an eye-watering 175 per cent of the offender’s weekly income – which would deter most people from exceeding the limit. So how will the new speeding fine laws work in practice?
Tell me more about the speeding fine laws . . .
Under the existing laws, drivers caught speeding can pay anything between 25 and 125 per cent of their weekly income, depending on the speed recorded and how much in excess of the prescribed limit this is. The upper limit of the fines is now set to rise to a whopping 175 per cent of the offender’s weekly income in the most serious speeding cases.
The seriousness of an offence, and the amount you would have to pay, is determined by a grading system based on how much in excess of the speed limit you are driving. There are three bands of prescribed penalties which increases in correlation with the increase in severity in correlation with the excess speed recorded.
What’s behind the changes?
The Sentencing Council, which sets the sentences handed down in courts, have brought in the new rules after finding that existing laws did not fully reflect the harm that excessive speed can cause.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, inappropriate speed is a factor in 24 per cent of fatal collisions so action is clearly needed. It is hoped that these fines will be high enough to make people think about the dangers of speeding.
Is there anything that could increase the fine?
The Magistrates’ will normally follow the guidelines given which suggest a band of fine to be imposed. This advisable fine will span a 50 per cent range of the offender’s income and within this the Magistrates’ can chose where the sum of money due should lie.
As with all offences, you could be liable for a harsher punishment if there are aggravating features, for example, you were speeding in poor weather conditions, near a school or whilst driving a lorry. These factors could lead the Magistrates’ to decide that the fine should lie at the top end of the prescribed band.
Will I be banned from driving?
The rules around disqualification have changed so that the
Magistrates’ are more readily encouraged to give an instant disqualification where the speed limit has been
exceeded by greater than 10 miles an hour. They do have the discretion in these cases however to opt instead to impose six penalty points in lieu of this. The disqualification if awarded is usually between seven and 56 days – although it can be more than that if you were well above the limit.
Can I still take a speed awareness course?
In 2015, more than a million people chose to take a speed awareness course instead of receiving points on their license, where this was offered. When the new rules come in, the rules surrounding these remain unchanged.
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