Speeding drivers will soon face much higher fines and stricter penalties. On April 24 2017, new guidelines set by the Sentencing Council will come into effect in the UK. Those caught driving at more than 101mph in a 70mph speed limit could be disqualified for up to 56 days and get a fine of between 125 and 175 per cent of their relevant weekly income.
Although the motorway fines have taken the headlines, drivers are most likely to be affected by the new fines and penalties on slower roads. If you are caught at between 31 and 40mph in a 30mph zone you will get three penalty points and a fine of between 25 and 75 per cent of your weekly income. Currently many drivers get away without points and a fine by paying for a speed awareness course.
How big are the changes for speeding drivers?
Having fines means tested is the biggest change here. Until now, the average fine for speeding in the UK is around £200. From April, a driver who earns the average UK weekly wage of £507 who is caught doing 102mph on a motorway could be fined £760. However, high earners shouldn’t panic just yet: fines are capped at £1000, or £2500 if the offence is committed on a motorway. So if a top-level footballer earning £300,000 a week is caught driving at 102mph on a motorway, they could get away with £2500 – relatively short change for them. The six points or the possible 56-day disqualification are likely to present the bigger inconvenience.
Why is the speeding law being changed?
Speeding offences have increased by 44 per cent over the last five years in some parts of the country. The new sentencing structure has been designed to produce a sufficient deterrent to reduce the number of speeding drivers.
Will other laws change?
As well as the speeding fines, drivers are set to face much tougher penalties for using a mobile phone behind the wheel from March 2017. The previous penalty of three points and a £100 fine has been doubled to six points and £200.
Five (very) Fast Facts
- The fastest speeding ticket known to have been issued was in Texas in May 2003. The driver of a Swedish Koenigsegg supercar was caught doing 242mph in a 75mph zone. After police finally caught up with him he was arrested and the car impounded.
- In the UK the highest speed ever ticketed was 192mph. The way the driver was caught is more unique. He posted videos of his exploits on YouTube and this provided enough evidence for his prosecution.
- The Swiss use a similar earnings-based fine system to the one the UK will soon have. When a Swiss billionaire was caught at 186mph in his Mercedes SLS in 2010 he landed the biggest speeding fine ever issued: a cool £558,000.
- The most prolific speed camera in the UK is on the Ealing section of London’s North Circular Road. From being switched on in April 2016 to the end of October almost 15,000 fines were issued as it enforced a temporary 30mph limit. Assuming three penalty points and a £100 fine per speeding driver, that’s £1.5 million in just six months.
- In 1878 the speed limit for a steam-driven car was 2mph in towns and 4mph in the country. Anyone caught exceeding that speed was fined and given 10 lashes. It was the driver, not the vehicle’s owner, who received the physical punishment.