Tougher sentences for speeding
Motorists should be aware that tougher sentences for speeding came into effect on 24 April 2017.
When sentencing, Magistrates look at guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council. The Magistrates have to ask themselves what is the speed recorded and what was the speed limit. The sentence will then be in one of three categories. In all cases the Magistrates will impose a fine and either impose penalty points or ban the motorist from driving.
The highest speeds will now be punished with a fine equivalent to 150% of a driver's weekly income rather than 100% of weekly income. As an example, these higher fines would be applied to a motorist found to be driving at 51mph in a 30mph zone or 101mph on a motorway.
Whilst the percentage of weekly income has changed, the maximum fines allowed by law remain the same. Speeding drivers cannot be fined more than £1,000 unless the offence takes place on a motorway, where the limit is £2,500.
The changes do not affect the number of penalty points imposed for speeding at certain levels either nor do they change the length of time for which Magistrates can ban drivers for speeding.
Whilst the changes have been largely welcomed by motoring groups, the lack of amendment to the maximum fine permitted effectively means that those on high incomes are less likely to feel the sting following the changes than those with lesser weekly earnings. If you are a Premiership footballer then it won't matter whether you are fined 150% of your weekly income or 100% - you will always have earned more than the maximum £1,000 or £2,500.
Tim Williamson, specialist motoring lawyer at leading road traffic firm Blake Morgan, says – "These tougher penalties will have a real impact on motorists, however, they do not provide for more penalty points or for longer disqualifications to be imposed, which in our experience is what most motorists are most concerned about. If the Government wishes to truly 'crack down', then it must address the holy trinity of maximum fines, the approach to calculating fines and Magistrates powers to impose penalty points or a ban".