Speeding fines for the most serious cases in England and Wales will rise by up to 50% after new sentencing guidelines were published.
The current limit for a speeding fine is 100% of the driver’s weekly wage, up to £1,000 or £2,500 if they are caught on a motorway.
However, when the new guidelines take affect from April 24, a driver caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, or 101mph on a motorway, could be fined 150% of their weekly income – although the upper cash limit will stay the same.
Paul Loughlin, an expert in motoring crime and solicitor at the national law firm Stephensons, said: “While these changes might only be dismissed as ‘sentencing guidelines’, drivers should be aware that – in practice – a magistrate is likely to stick to them unless they have a strong indication that doing so would not be in the interests of justice.
“As such, in the most serious of cases, drivers could expect to be fined one-and-a-half times their weekly salary. The current limit on fines imposed by the courts is £1,000 or £2,500 if the offence took place on the motorway.”
Data gathered by Stephensons last year showed that driving over the speed limit was the single most frequently flouted law across the UK and less than a third of people regretted the offence.
Loughlin continued: “The sentencing council has said that the increase in fines is to demonstrate the ‘seriousness of offending’. Aside from the financial implications, those who are caught speeding will likely face points on their license or – in some serious cases – a ban from driving.”
Scott Chesworth, operations director at vehicle tracking provider RAM Tracking, said: “Safety should always be a number one priority for businesses with fleets.
“The decision to significantly increase the penalty for drivers that exceed the speed limit sends a clear message that such behaviour is not acceptable.
“Whilst fines and other sanctions are an obvious deterrent to those intent on speeding, managers should still put procedures in place to tackle the problem.”
Education and technology can play a key role in changing driver behaviour. “By installing a vehicle tracking system for example, managers will be able to identify those workers who break the speed limit,” said Chesworth. “This will allow them to identify drivers that would benefit from further education and training.
“Fleet managers should also make sure that drivers are aware that speeding can have devastating consequences for themselves and other road users.”