New Speeding Fine Increases - All You Need To Know!
Drivers who are caught speeding will now face tougher penalties. Fines will be based on a percentage of your weekly wage and can now rise to a maximum of £2,500. These changes took effect on April 24th 2017.
There has been a lot of discussion around the new sentencing guidelines for speeding which came in to force this month in England and Wales, I for one was pretty shocked to hear of the news and of some of the level of fines when my friend told me about the new guidelines that have been introduced. After a moment brief panic thinking back to all my recent car journeys and the times that I had been late to work driving like Lewis Hamilton on our 20/30mph seafront roads(!), our conversation quickly escalated into debate about what level of punishment we both think should be served for speeding offences.
For a start, there can be no advocacy for speeding. Ultimately we all know there are speed restrictions in place for good reason, namely to save lives, and there’s no doubting that if you get caught doing it you should expect some retribution for breaking the rules of the road. However, whilst understanding this may seem obvious, it still doesn’t answer the question many of us are asking after hearing of these new sentencing guidelines; how severe should the punishment be?
What are the new speeding fines?
For those of you that haven’t seen already, the latest rules mean that fines have increased for speeding offences, with sentencing guidelines for magistrates revised, meaning that the worst offenders could see top end fines rising to an astronomical 150% of their weekly income! There is a cap on the maximum fine a motorist can receive nd this is set at £2,500.
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.
Under the new rules:
• A band A offence could see you fined the equivalent to 50 per cent of your weekly wage and receive three points on your licence.
• A band B offence could see you hit with a fine equivalent to 100 per cent of your weekly wage and four penalty points or a ban from driving for up to 28 days.
• A band C offence could see you hit with a fine equivalent to 150 per cent of your weekly wage and six penalty points or a ban from driving for up to 56 days. Following a 56-day ban, you would be required to re-apply for your driving licence.
New Consequences of Speeding
|Speed Limit||Speed Recorded (mph)|
|Sentencing Band||Band C Fine||Band B Fine||Band A Fine|
|Points awarded/disqualificaion length||7-56 day disqualification OR 6 points||7-28 day disqualification OR 4-6 points||3 points|
Are the new speeding fines a fair punishment?
Whilst the new fines, temporary bans and instant disqualifications will likely result in a decrease in offences, I can’t help but feel the fine aspect and eye watering increases are a little on the harsh side, and may have been brought in place to serve less of a deterrent, but more as a way to contribute to government coffers - a feeling many motorists have about speed cameras according to the RAC.
Whilst I’ve been fortunate enough to not have had any speeding offences in my ten or so years of driving, (my friend having had many and disagreeing with every new guideline – hence the start of the debate), I truly feel that a penalty point increase or temporary ban would serve as adequate enough punishment for those committing the driving offence.
Although I am fortunately not one to be able to talk from experience, I would imagine that the most serious offences either end up in tragedy, long term bans or prosecution, but I can’t help but feel that the majority of speeding incidents are minor offences from impatience or ignorance to the limits where the offender is between 5-10mph over the limit, or from mitigating factors like emergency. In these instances I personally don’t really feel that fines are a necessary part of the deterrent, and I think we would be much better served with just points or temporary bans, with fewer points resulting in quicker, shorter bans, with perhaps at worst cases small fines that could be donated to road safety charities and driver awareness organisations. This rather than hefty fines that will likely in part be used to finance yet more speed cameras and prosecutions.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, inappropriate speed is a factor in 24 per cent of fatal collisions, so it seems action is certainly necessary and always needed, but my feeling is that drivers and pedestrians would be more at ease knowing that lessons were being taught with the consequences of relevant bans and serious committers off the roads, rather than people being fined large percentages of their monthly income.
When will the new speeding fines come into affect?
The new rules came into effect in England and Wales on 24 April 2017, but they aren’t quite UK-wide as they do not apply to offences in Scotland or Northern Ireland – however they would apply to Scots or Northern Irish drivers caught speeding in England.
The Sentencing Council, which sets the sentences handed down in courts, have apparently brought in the new rules after finding that existing laws did not fully reflect the harm that excessive speed can cause, however there is no doubting that there is still a lot debate amongst motorists surrounding motoring fines and how relevant they are as a deterrent for speeding offences
Ultimately my view is that speed cameras should solely be about safety, not about raising cash... and enforcement needs to be prioritised in terms of road safety benefits and not in terms of the value of the revenues generated….what are your thoughts?
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