A new speeding fine structure came into force today across England and Wales, but research suggests the vast majority of motorists are not aware of it.
According to a small survey of 100 people conducted by car consumer site Honest John, more than eight out of 10 drivers aged 18-84 do not know that the rules around being caught speeding have changed.
Daniel Powell, managing editor of Honest John, said: “While most people agree that excessive speed has no place on our roads, and that greater deterrents are likely to reduce the amount of deaths and injuries related to speeding, the new fines policy appears to have entered the law almost unnoticed.”
We bring you the lowdown here.
What is changing?
New regulations mean that fines will be issued according to earnings. The new increases mean that drivers can be charged between 125 and 175 per cent of their weekly wage if caught speeding.
The new rules explained
Under the new rules, judges and magistrates have also been given the power to fine motorists up to 150 per cent of their weekly wage for the worst speeding offences, or 50 per cent for minor offences. This will be capped at £1,000 per offence or £2,500 if excessive speeds of more than 101mph are committed on a motorway.
For those who commit the worst speeding offences on the motorway, the consequences go even further. Not only will they face massive fines of at least 150 per cent of their weekly wages, they can also face a potential ban from driving.
It isn’t just fines that are increasing, however. The maximum jail term currently for drivers who kill someone through excessive speed is 10 years. With the new regulations, that has increased to 14 years.
Why has this decision been made?
According to the Sentencing Council of England and Wales, consultation with the public and relevant authorities revealed that the current measures did not take into account the increase in potential harm that can result as speed above the limit rises.
In 2013 alone, 3,064 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes throughout the UK, where speed was a factor.
What do people think about it?
Honest John’s Daniel Powell believes there are other concerns on the road to focus on beside speed. “If sentencing guidelines for speeding are heading this way, then in an era of more connectivity behind the wheel, we should be addressing concerns around mobile phone use, in-car app and sat nav distractions in much the same way,” he said.
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “We welcome the change in sentencing guidelines for gross speeders. Anyone who breaks the limit excessively is a danger to every other road user and is unnecessarily putting lives at risk.
“Hopefully, hitting these offenders harder in the pocket will make them think twice before doing it again in the future.”
The new regulations came into effect on April 24.
By Aidan Rennie-Jones