20 April, 2017
Julie Larkman – Operations Manager
Next week motorists caught speeding are to face tougher penalties when new sentencing guidelines take effect.
Drivers committing the most serious offences will be handed harsher fines, under a series of strict new rules for district judges and magistrates.
The penalties are increasing by a whopping 50%, so they could be fined 150% cent of their weekly income, rather than the existing 100%. This includes drivers caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, 51mph in a 30mph zone or 66mph in a 40mph zone. The guidelines apply to all motorists and come into force on April 24, regardless of the date of the offence.
The changes are the product of a consultation in 2016 that argued previous guidelines did not properly consider 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 on your licence, while the maximum fine is £1,000 or £2,500 for motorway offences. However, when the new guidelines are brought in next month, those caught driving at more than 30 mph over the speed limit on a motorway 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. 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
According to the RAC, excessively breaking the speed limit puts lives at risk and causes danger to every other road user. “Hopefully, hitting these offenders harder in the pocket will make them think twice before doing it again in the future,” spokesman Pete Williams said.
The guidelines apply to all motorists and come into force on April 24, regardless of the date of the offence.Now, these changes to sentencing for speeding offences will undoubtedly hit us in the pocket, but will it change behaviours?
Carlease247 conducted a survey at a national speed awareness course (NSAC) and found that the vast majority (>70%) were caught speeding in one of two ways:
Very few people seemed to be in the category that we could describe as reckless, but who would admit to that?
We are not going to dwell at all here on whether speeding is dangerous and is linked to road injuries and deaths. Life is too short and this is a no-brainer, so let’s ask some key questions:
Don’t know. We have done quite a bit of research on this one and quite frankly can’t find anything conclusive. There is lots of speculation around whether fines should be linked to wages and the like and quite a bit of data on the actual amount collected. However, in terms of studies that check for correlation and causality, we have drawn a blank.
On the question as to whether fines should be linked to wages, we feel that the answer is YES. The reason being is that if fines were flat rated, then they would effectively be regressive penalties and folk less well-off would be penalised more than others.
Short answer – yes. Speed cameras reduce the overall speed in areas in which they are deployed and contribute to road safety. Is this obvious? I mean, when you approach a speed camera you slow down. When you face the “threat” of a fine do you slow down? Anyway, if you want to see some decent evidence to support this (rather than gut feel) check this out: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0012902/
The Chartered Institute of Insurers conducted a in 2012 to assess the effectiveness of the NSAC and concluded as follows:
“There is not any definitive research into the long-term effects of speed awareness courses on driving behaviour and the subsequent impact on insurance risk, or how the claims patterns of these drivers compare to motorists with and without convictions.”
So, we don’t know. However, being told about the dangers of speeding and what the consequences are very powerful messages. Ask anyone who has been on one. Mostly people feel “enlightened” and shocked by the consequences of speeding. Is there any behavioural change as a consequence of this – we don’t know.
Whilst we may be hit in the pocket if we speed from 24 April, we MUST not forget the importance of driving safely and responsibly. If you want to see some TERRIFYING road safety statistics, please read our article HERE. You will be SHOCKED.
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