Did you know that in 2017, the government is cracking down on speeding drivers in the UK? That means punishments, particularly for the worst offenders, are about to get much tougher. Here’s everything you need to know, including what’s changed and how much drivers can be fined.
Following a review of the sentencing guidelines for Magistrates’ courts in England and Wales, fines for the most serious speeding offences will increase by up to 50%.
The previous limit for a speeding fine in the UK was 100% of the offending driver’s weekly wage up to £1000, or up to £2500 if the incident occurred on a motorway. Effective from April 24th of this year, however, drivers can now be fined a whopping 150% of their weekly wage, although the cash limits remain the same.
Band A, B and C fines
This new increased fine is known as a Band C fine, and applies to drivers caught at the following speeds:
- 41mph and above in a 20mph zone
- 51mph and above in a 30mph zone
- 66mph and above in a 40mph zone
- 76mph and above in a 50mph zone
- 91mph and above in a 60mph zone
- 101mph and above in a 70mph zone
Offenders caught at these speeds will also receive either 6 points on their licence or disqualification from driving for 7-56 days - hopefully, that’s enough to put off anyone even considering driving this recklessly.
Drivers caught speeding at lower speeds will receive the standard punitive measures that applied before the change, receiving between 3-6 points on their licence, and a fine of up to 100% of their weekly wage. These will be known as Band A and B fines.
This new system of banded fines goes all the way up to Band F - 700% of your weekly income - but we’re not even sure what you’d have to do to get hit with one of those...
Do Magistrates have to stick to these new guidelines?
In short, yes. In the unusual case that a Judge or Magistrate feels it’s not in the interest of justice to follow the sentencing guidelines, they may choose to give a different sentence. These situations are rare, however, especially when it comes to speeding fines. A Magistrate may choose not to impose a fine if doing so would result in 'exceptional hardship' for the offender.
In the whole of 2015, only two people in England and Wales were jailed for speeding offences. A total of 166,695 people were sentenced for speeding offences, with 99.7% of them also receiving a fine. The average fine was just under £190 - enough to ruin anyone’s day.
So why have these fines increased?
The Sentencing Council, the organisation in charge of setting guidelines for fines issued by courts, have stated that a “clear increase in penalty” was needed to fight the rising number of serious incidents where drivers are caught travelling much faster than the speed limit. Figures from 2008 showed that exceeding the speed limit was a significant cause of around 15% of all road accidents that resulted in a fatality.