Motorists caught speeding are to face tougher penalties from NEXT WEEK when new sentencing guidelines take effect.
Drivers responsible for the most serious speeding offences will be handed harsher fines, under a series of strict new rules for district judges and magistrates, designed to make drivers “think twice”.
They could be fined 150 per cent of their weekly income, rather than the existing level of 100 per cent.
This includes drivers caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, 51mph in a 30mph zone or 66mph in a 40mph zone.
The changes are part of a consultation in 2016 that argued previous guidelines did not properly take into account the potential harm of speeding – and the risks it poses to the public.
Currently in the UK the minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your driving licence, while the maximum fine is £1,000 or £2,500 for motorway offences.
But when the new guidelines are brought in next month, those caught driving at more than 101mph in a 70mph speed limit could be disqualified for up to 56 days and get a fine of between 125 and 175 per cent of their relevant weekly income.
District judge Richard Williams, a sentencing council member, said: “The magistrates’ courts deal with the vast majority of offenders in England and Wales, so it is essential that the guidelines they use are up to date and help ensure that sentences are applied consistently and effectively.”
Breakdown recovery firm the RAC has welcomed the new ruling – and says it will benefit everyone.
Spokesman Pete Williams said: “Anyone who breaks the limit excessively is a danger to every other road user and is unnecessarily putting lives at risk.
“Hopefully, hitting these offenders harder in the pocket will make them think twice before doing it again in the future.”
Louise Ellman, chair of the Commons Transport Committee said the enforcement will help tackle the declining number of dedicated road traffic police officers, which she describes as a “real concern”.
Drivers will also face points, or a disqualification depending on the offence. From 24 April 2017, a new higher penalty will be introduced.
Fines for motorists caught going well above the speed limit will start from 150% of their weekly income rather than the existing level of 100%.
For example, someone who is sentenced for driving at 101mph or faster in a 70mph zone will now be dealt with in a more severe bracket.
Drivers will also face points, or a disqualification depending on the offence.
The Sentencing Council said the move aims to ensure there is a “clear increase in penalty as the seriousness of offending increases”.
Fines are determined in categories – a Band A fine is 50% of someone’s weekly income, Band B is 100% and Band C is 150%.
The guidelines apply to all motorists and come into force on April 24, regardless of the date of the offence.
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The Sentencing Council held a consultation last year.
The Sentencing Council for England and Wales was set up to promote greater transparency and consistency in sentencing, whilst maintaining the independence of the judiciary.
To find out more about how these changes will affect you as a motorist, visit www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk.
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