With 166,695 people in England and Wales fined for speeding in 2015, speeding remains a common offence on roads today. With this is mind, the Sentencing Council has recently reviewed and announced changes to penalties handed out to drivers who are taken to court for a speeding offence. The aim of these changes is to better reflect the ‘potential harm’ that speeding can cause with increased penalties put in place as of the 24th April.
So what are these changes?
Whilst fixed fines were previously applied, the new system replaces this with a banding system requiring offenders to pay a % of their weekly salary, ranging from 50% up to 150%. The 3 band system sees penalties based on the severity of the speeding offence. For example, on average a Band A offence could see a fine of 50% of your weekly salary, 100% for a Band B and 150% for a Band C.
The below table from the Sentencing Council provides more detail on how these penalties may be applied:
|Speed Limit (mph)||
|20||41 and above||31-40||21-30|
|30||51 and above||41-50||31-40|
|40||66 and above||56-65||41-55|
|50||76 and above||66-75||51-65|
|60||91 and above||81-90||61-80|
|70||101 and above||91-100||71-90|
|Sentencing Range||Band C||Band B||Band A|
|Points/Disqualification||Disqualify 7 – 56 days OR 6 points||Disqualify 7 – 28
days OR 4 – 6 points
In addition to the new band system, courts are also being urged to consider any aggravating or mitigating circumstances which could see higher or lower penalties applied (from 25% of weekly income up to 175%). Whether the offender has any previous convictions is likely to result in a zero tolerance policy whilst other aggravating factors such as driving a LGV, HGV or PSV etc, carrying passengers or heavy load and driving for hire or reward are also cited. Factors which may reduce the severity of the penalty include the driver having no previous offences, and whether the speeding was determined to be due to a genuine emergency situation.
These fines aren’t unlimited however, with a cap remaining on the maximum fine, standing at £2,500 for offences on a motorway and £1,000 on other roads.
Given that driving a LGV or HGV, driving for reward and carrying heavy loads are seen to be aggravating factors, it’s of upmost importance that professional drivers are aware of these changes, the more severe penalties and impact this could have on their driving employment status.