Changes to speeding fines have come into force in England and Wales, with stricter punishments for serious offences.
A driver caught doing 51 mph in a 30 mph area will now face a fine starting from 150% of their weekly income, up from the previous level of 100%.
The change also applies to drivers caught driving at 101 mph on a motorway.
The legal maximum fine for drivers remains the same, so anyone caught driving over the limit cannot be fined more than £1,000 unless the offence takes place on a motorway, where the limit is increased to £2,500.
Speeding drivers still kill hundreds each year
In 2015, 244 people were killed in crashes that involved a driver breaking the speed limit. Driving over the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions was recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor of 23% of fatal crashes in the same year. Stricter penalties will act as a stronger deterrent, making our roads safer.
The new fines take the dangers of serious speeding into account
The new laws are focused on the most serious offences – meaning the most dangerous drivers will be penalised. A consultation found that the previous regulations did not take into account the harm that can result as speed over the legal limit rises. According to The Sentencing Council, the new fines show a ‘clear increase in fine level as the seriousness of offending increases’.
The public supports tougher punishments
A YouGov survey in 2016 found that the public is in favour of strict penalties for speeding drivers. The pollsters asked what the punishment should be for a driver caught driving faster than 100mph on a motorway in dry, well-lit conditions. 42% said that a fine and points on your license would be the best punishment, and the second most popular response, supported by 34%, was an automatic driving ban.
Motoring groups agree it’s a good idea
Motoring organisations are united in their support for the new measures. The RAC 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.’
President of The AA Edmund King called the changes ‘an effective way to penalise offenders’. He said: ‘Responsible drivers will welcome the changes coming into force today. The majority of drivers who keep to the correct speed, as well as driving to the conditions, won’t be affected. It is only those who deliberately drive dangerously who will end up in court.’
Gary Rae, campaigns director for road safety charity Brake, said: ‘Toughening the fines and penalties for speeding is long overdue. As a charity that offers a support service to families bereaved and injured in road crashes, we see every day the consequences of speeding on our roads. I hope that magistrates ensure the new sentences are consistently applied.’