Magistrates in England and Wales are to get tougher powers to punish speeding drivers. Anyone caught excessively breaking the speed limit from 24 April 2017 will lose 150% of their weekly salary; the previous limit was set at 100%.
The new guidelines have been drawn up by the Sentencing Council, which devises frameworks for judges to use when handing down sentences. Under these rules, “the most serious offenders” will be penalised more harshly. That means anyone doing more than 51mph in a 30mph zone or over 101mph on the motorway, for example, is classified in the Band C sentencing range and will get the new 150% fine.
|Speeding classifications for Band C fines|
|Speed limit (mph)||Recorded speed (mph)|
The Council has increased the proportion of the fines, as it considered “the previous guidelines did not properly take into account the increase in potential harm that can result as speed above the speed limit increases”.
The changes have been met favourably by motoring organisations. Pete Williams, road safety spokesman for the RAC, told Sky News that “hitting these offenders harder in the pocket will make them think twice before doing it again in the future”.
But while the increase from 100 to 150% is significant, the upper limits for penalties remain unchanged. That means the most anyone can be fined for speeding on a normal road continues to be £1,000, while speeding offences on the motorway are still capped at £2,500. Unlike Finland and Sweden, for instance, where wealthy speeders have been fined hundreds of thousands of Euros, English and Welsh millionaires will be liable for the same fiscal cap as those who are less well-off.
Judges do have some discretion, though: the starting point for serious speeding offences may be 150% of a perpetrator’s weekly salary, but this can be lowered to 125% when mitigating circumstances are present, or increased to 175% if aggravating factors are found.
This article was written by Hugo Griffiths from Car Buyer and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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