2017-01-25en-GB

Speeding fines to go up in April 2017

The Sentencing Council which provides guidance to the Courts on how to sentence speeding motorists (as well as all other offences) has just released new guidance, effective from the 24 April 2017 and drivers need to be aware of this. Magistrates Courts will impose much higher fines for serious offenders and it could come as a serious surprise to many. In Kent alone the Clacket Lane cameras on the M25 catch a substantial number of drivers exceeding 100 mph by a comfortable margin, and they will face much tougher sanctions.

Current sentencing explained

This is often a mystery to people and best explained with a simple table.

 

Speed Limit (mph) Recorded Speed (mph)  
20 41 and above 31-40 21-30
30 51 and above 41-50 31-40
40 66 and above 56-65 41-55
50 76 and above 66-75 51-65
60 91 and above 81-90 61-80
70 101 and above 91-100 71-90
Sentencing Range  Band B Fine Band B Fine Band A Fine
Points/Disqualification

Disqualification for 7-56 days

OR 6 points

Disqualification for 7-28 days

OR 4-6 points

3 points

 

The maximum fine for speeding on a motorway is £2,500 and elsewhere its £1,000. These will not change. Penalty points range from 3 to 6 and for higher speeds the court has a discretion to disqualify as well as fine. Penalty points remain the same.

Drivers who plead guilty at the first available opportunity will receive a one third reduction in fine.

Applicable speed limits are divided into sections as the table above shows. Fines are assessed when the court considers a driver’s financial circumstances. Everyone has to fill out a means form. Currently, high speeders receive a Band B fine which is between 75% and 125% of relevant earnings. For those in work as employees or self employed, relevant earnings are what’s left from weekly earnings after tax. The starting point is 100% and the court goes up or down depending on the absence or presence of aggravating circumstances, such as poor weather, heavy traffic, carrying a passenger, bad driving along with high speed, and of course previous convictions.

With effect from 24 April 2017 the fine for the highest bracket will go up from a Band B fine to a Band C fine for which the starting point is 150% of relevant earnings.

The courts can of course go above that if they want to, and I believe they will. The change is a clear encouragement to become much tougher on offenders. This has been slowly happening for quite some time anyway, but this makes it much more formal. With increased penalties for mobile telephone use, you can see the clear trend.

What seems likely is that more maximum fines will be imposed by the Courts.

Drivers have 3 months to understand the changes before they bite, as they surely will.

form

Comments

With evermore roads downgraded to a more Downton Abbey speed limit of 20mph and generally all speed limits being downgraded, then this is obviously a major ratchet-up, in the governments 'war on the driver'. (The 20mph speed limits was abandoned in 1930 as out-dated, even for the primitive cars of the time). Plus of course the Government changed the signage legislation in 2016, in that there now has to be only one speed limit entry sign, as opposed to the previous two and those useful 'repeater' signs do not have to be displayed. So even with the best will in the world, drivers can now be easily caught out, especially as speed limits now no longer match the type of road geography and are set on the whims and fancies of local councillors! So you can have fields either side of the road, but be subject to a 30mph limit! Government chooses not to discriminate between safe 'speeding' and total recklessness, were the danger is, drivers driving too fast for prevailing conditions rather than just plain speeding on deserted roads.
Comment by Terry Hudson - dth 1 2017
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