Motorists who drive at speeds ‘excessively above legal limits’ in England and Wales will from today (24 April) be punished with new higher penalties.
First announced by the Sentencing Council in January, the new fines for the ‘most serious offences’ will start at 150% of weekly income, rather than the existing level of 100%.
The ‘Band C’ fines – which can be accompanied with a seven to 56 day ban or six points on the licence – will, for example, apply to those caught doing more than 41mph on a 20mph road, 51mph in a 30mph limit or 101mph on a motorway.
However, the maximum fine (£1,000) allowed by law remain the same, unless the offence takes place on a motorway, in which case the maximum fine is £2,500.
The move has been welcomed by a host of stakeholders including Road Safety GB, the RAC, Brake and the AA whose president Edmund King told BBC News that it was right that ‘extreme offenders’ were punished ‘severely’.
The increased penalty follows a consultation by the Sentencing Council, in which respondents said that the previous guidelines did not ‘properly take into account the increase in potential harm that can result as speed above the speed limit increases’.
The Sentencing Council says it has increased the penalty to ensure there is ‘clear increase in fine level’ as the seriousness of offending increases.
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: “We welcome the change in sentencing guidelines for gross speeders. 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.
“While greater sentences for excessive speeders are obviously a deterrent, the best deterrent of all is more effective enforcement.”
Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, added: “Toughening the fines and penalties for speeding is long overdue. As a charity that offers a support service to families bereaved and injured in road crashes, we see every day the consequences of speeding on our roads. I hope that magistrates ensure the new sentences are consistently applied.”
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