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  • Changes to speeding fines (and what you need to know)

    October 11, 2017

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  • Last April, new guidelines for speeding penalties were introduced in England and Wales. These changes have not been widely publicised, and so many drivers are not yet aware of them. Penalties are now stricter for the most serious offences, which go to court.

    In 2015, 244 people were killed in crashes in which the driver was exceeding the speed limit. The Sentencing Council told the BBC that it wanted “a clear increase in penalties” to prevent road deaths such as these, and the new system uses higher fines as a deterrent.

    If driving is an essential part of your business, you’ll need to be aware of the changes. Here’s a guide to the new penalties.

    How the band system for penalties works

    If you are stopped by the police, they may issue you with a fixed penalty notice, which is £100 and three points on your licence. However, if the offence is sufficiently serious, and you are taken to court, the penalty will be calculated according to a band system, divided up into three bands: A, B and C.

    Let’s take driving through a 30mph zone as an example. If you are caught driving between 31 and 40mph, you will be fined at band A level, which is 25-50% of your weekly income. If you are recorded doing 41-50mph, the fine will be set at band B, 75-125% of your income. Finally, if you are speeding in band C, at 52mph plus in a 30mph zone, the fine could be as high as 175% of your weekly income.

    You can still receive points on your licence at all levels, and bands B and C can result in disqualification periods. The maximum fine is capped at £1,000, or £2,500 if the driver is speeding on a motorway.

    Other factors that affect the fine

    Other factors are taken into account when magistrates calculate the fines. For example, a driver with no previous convictions and a good character, or who was speeding because of a genuine emergency, may have the fine reduced.

    For really serious breaches, bands D, E and F come into force. These can carry fines of up to 700% of your weekly income (although as it’s still capped at £1,000, this is not quite as daunting as it sounds). These serious offences include speeding in poor road or weather conditions, or while driving a large vehicle, towing, carrying passengers or with a heavy load. If you have previous convictions, this can also push you up a band. To find out more, have a look at the Sentencing Council’s guidelines.

    If you are on benefits, the fine is likely to be capped at £120. Fines for pensioners will be linked to their pensions, and if you are unwaged but your partner earns, the household income will be taken into account.

    With road rules changing year in, year out, it’s essential to keep up to date with road safety rules and regulations. To test your knowledge, take our How’s my driving quiz.

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