Road Safety News

Penalties to increase for ‘most serious speeding offenders’

Tuesday 24th January 2017

A new higher penalty for the most serious speeding offenders is one of a number of new sentencing guidelines for magistrates published today (24 January) by the Sentencing Council.

The increased penalty will come into effect in April 2017 following 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 has increased the penalty for the top band of seriousness to ensure there is ‘clear increase in fine level’ as the seriousness of offending increases. 

Under the new guidelines, fines for offenders will start at 150% of weekly income rather than the existing level of 100%.

The Sentencing Council says it is introducing the new guidelines ‘to reflect changes in the law since magistrates’ guidelines were last updated in 2008’. 

Sentencing Council member and district judge Richard Williams 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. 

“We have listened to the views of magistrates, criminal justice professionals and others with an interest in particular offence types in developing these guidelines.”

Stakeholder reaction

Road Safety GB has met the announcement with a cautious optimism, and urges those passing sentence to consider the seriousness of speeding.

Sonya Hurt, chair of Road Safety GB, said: "It is worth remembering that this a raising of the maximum tariff for the offence within sentencing guidelines.

"Whilst Road Safety GB welcomes this we would encourage those passing sentence to consider the seriousness of chosen behaviours such as excessive speeding and the potential consequences for themselves and other innocent road users."

The RAC has welcomed the change in sentencing guidelines, expressing its hope that increased fines will make people 'think twice before doing it again'.

Pete Williams, road safety spokesperson, 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.”

GEM Motoring Assist has also shown its support, saying that the increased penalties would send the right message to drivers about the dangers of driving too fast.

Neil Worth, road safety officer, said: "If more people complied with speed limits, there would be fewer deaths and injuries on our roads; it’s as simple as that. We therefore welcome the increase in fines, as we know the enforcement of speed limits plays a vital role in road safety.

“As drivers and riders, we are all responsible for the speeds we choose. No one can tell us to break the speed limit. So we urge every driver and rider to take that responsibility seriously and to play their part in making our roads safer.” 



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As a speed violation specialist myself, it's not the fear of getting caught that has reduced my speed, but the cost of fuel - then again, it's my fault for buying a thirsty diesel powered car in the first place.

But once again, I feel I have to preach to the people that it isn't *speeding* itself that is the issue that needs to be demonised, it's inappropriate speed.

I have no problems with people (or myself, case in point) doing 120mph+ on roads that are suitable for it, but, what about abiding to speed limits when it's not safe to do so?

Or perhaps 33mph outside a school at 1.30pm? Safe. 33mph at start or end? Horrifically unsafe, neigh on dangerous.

I fear the road safety industry is inadvertently brainwashing people into believing "because X road has 60mph limit, I can do this 60mph in fog with 10m visibility because I'm not speeding"

I do support these proposals however, but only for the punishment of flagrant cases of inappropriate speed.
David Weston, Corby

Agree (9) | Disagree (10)

I doubt very much that in this day and age of the use of credit cards that a mere £200 or £300 fine would act as any kind of deterrent. I presume that it would be a ticket offence and therefore limited to smaller amounts whereas a court appearance and a heavy fine of say £3000 would I believe act as such.

Let's not forget that in only in a small % of collisions/incidents that speeds in excess of the limit that are registered on stats as a cause.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (7) | Disagree (4)

Whilst the penalty increases appear plausible at first glance, I notice that there's no evidence presented to support them and no method proposed to measure their effect. Furthermore, the ‘most serious speeding offenders’ include top police officers, members of parliament, executives of speed camera companies and even the prime minister's driver whilst the prime minister was in the back seat! Remember that these 'dangerous drivers' are often not "other people", they can be our friends, family, those in authority and even ourselves when the road is clear or the speed limit is too low. Be careful what you wish for!
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

Dave, a nice provocative post. I note with some interest you refer to doing 120mph+ on roads that are suitable for it but there is no reference to either a vehicle that is also suitable to achieve that speed nor whether you are fit enough, (skilled, physically or emotionally). One factor not regarded by speeders is the difference in speeds of vehicles which can be dangerous if the drivers cannot accurately identify the speeds concerned. This can happen at both high and low speeds! Many has been the time when driving on a duel carriageway I have been almost rear-ended by drivers who assume everyone is driving at the limit. My 2CV is happy at 40mph!
Peter City of Westminster

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)

I wouldn't have thought it would be a fine that would affect/deter the speeders as much as more points or disqualification. The latter at least gets them off the road out of harms way.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (3)

Wow. David......You certainly put yourself out there when you blatantly admit to doing 120 mph on our roads. I would imagine your consideration of what is a safe road or time would differ from the majority of others who support this site and its endeavours. Do you condone doing 33 mph around town? A speed that even the Chief Police Officers Ass. says is not illegal in that it will not take issue with any speed that is 10% above the default limit plus 2 mph. That's the rub and hubris as well I think. You never fail to inform us constantly of your chequered past. In paragraph 5 I can take umbrage when you suggest that the road safety industry is brainwashing people about speed limits only. Its also about as you say, and I agree, excessive speeds under whatever circumstances that is the major problem, and no Road Safety Officer would condone an idiot doing 60 in a 60 limit in fog.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (8) | Disagree (4)

Hugh looks to me that you have identified probably 99% of the problems associated with all young drivers and perhaps a large % of older drivers as well. After passing the test and being previously under controlled conditions with advice being given on a second to second basis drivers are then let loose to do their own thing and experience just how to survive on our roads.

Given that they may have 40 or 60 hours tuition it would be wrong to consider that they know everything that they need to know. Of course not. That's why they come across situations that they cannot cope with. Situations that they have never encountered before and have no knowledge of and some in which they make wrong presumptions or anticipate wrongly. This is mainly due to a lack of experience and knowledge.

I hope that having a discounted insurance premiums due to having a black box fitted and monitoring their actions that this could result in a better and safer driver if not just a slower one.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

I suspect David is being a little provocative and mischievous and no doubt in reality he drives around the average speed like most, if not all, of us, however, it did seem to be a good opportunity to go into the reason why genuine speeders need to be targeted.

I too am a speed violataion specialist (but on the right side of the law) and having dealt with so many speeders in the past, what came across time and again was how poor they were as drivers generally: little or no knowledge of car control; vehicle dynamics, balance and braking; poor observation; poor anticipation; poor hazard awareness; poor judgment; a general over-estimation of their abilities, over-confidence and lack of self-discipline - to name just a few - all of which lead to zero safety margins.

This lack of essential attributes pervades other areas of their driving as well including the 'inappropriate speed', so less speeders on the road via more points and a ban leads to safer roads - eventually.

Interestingly, I've found that those who are genuinely skilled behind the wheel and who don't lack the attributes mentioned above, don't feel the need to prove anything to themselves or others by speeding.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (9) | Disagree (3)

It is my view that speeding drivers give very little thought to the financial cost at the time of the offence. It is only after they have been caught speeding that they become more fully aware just how much it will hit their pocket. So whilst I'm not against this change, it is more likely to be effective as a deterrent to serial offenders rather than first timers. I'm not sure that was the intention though?
Pat, Wales

Agree (11) | Disagree (2)