From Monday April 24th, UK motorists could face fines of upto 700% of their weekly take-home income and possible disqualification from driving for more than 56 days under tough new sentencing guidelines.
During 2015, 166,659 drivers were convicted of speeding offences in England and Wales and 99.7% of these were fined, but just two were sent to prison. Back in 2008, 15% of fatal road accidents were significantly contributed to by excess speed, a percentage that has continued to increase, resulting in the Sentencing Council seeing a clear need to clamp down on speeding.
Magistrates and judges weighing up each speeding case in court will be able to consider mitigating or aggravating circumstances when sentencing offenders in line with the new A-to-F banding that has been introduced, from poor road or weather conditions, towing a trailer or speeding near a school, to traffic levels, a driver’s good character and cases of genuine emergencies.
Motorway speeding fines will be capped at £2,500, with other speeding convictions limited to £1,000 per offence, and someone who takes home the average UK salary for 2016/17 of £27,200 could stand to be fined £680 if they are caught driving at 51mph or faster in a 30 zone under the new bands, for example. Even motorists who just creep slightly over the speed limit may be hit with a fine representing 50% of their net weekly income.
A survey by Honest John found that 56% of UK motorists they polled admitted to not even knowing that tougher speeding penalties will kick in on April 24th, while 85% haven’t looked into the new laws to see how they could be affected. Quite rightly, though, many people feel victimised by, for example, strict 70mph motorway limits at a time when UK roads are blighted by so many 50mph roadworks zones, and driver distractions such as sat nav and infotainment systems pose more of a danger than arbitrary speed indiscretions.
Speeding awareness courses will still be offered to some first-time offenders in lieu of driving licence penalty points, depending on the severity of their speeding. With Band C applicable to motorists driving at or above 101mph on the motorway, the mind boggles to think about what will constitute a Band F offence and subsequent 600-700% weekly income fine, which will surely be extremely rare, with so few able to afford a Bugatti Veyron let alone reach one’s top speed.
Whether you lease a car or van through us or you’ve just stumbled across this road safety news bulletin, we hope it strikes a chord and encourages you to heed each road’s speed limit, even if some of them may seem a bit daft.