Factors increasing seriousness of speeding offence include
- Poor road or weather conditions
- Driving LGV, HGV, PSV etc.
- Towing caravan/trailer
- Carrying passengers or heavy load
- Driving for hire or reward
- Evidence of unacceptable standard of driving over and above speed
- Location e.g. near school
- High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity
Source: Sentencing Council
DRIVERS who break the law face swingeing new penalties within weeks with a double clampdown on those threatening lives with higher penalties for using a mobile or for speeding kick in this spring.
And van drivers are warned that if they get to court for speeding their occupation – together with truck and bus drivers – increases the seriousness of their offence in the eyes of magistrates following guidelines set by the Sentencing Council – see panel on the right.
Speeding offences are divided into three categories, the first Band A carrying the standard three points, but the second, Band B – say for exceeding 66mph on a 50mph national speed limit single carriageway road – can bring a ban for up to 28 days. See panel below story.
The doubled new penalties for using a hand-held mobile phone, confirmed last November, will be introduced from March 1, a Department for Transport spokesman confirmed this week, with further details announced nearer the time.
Much higher fines for the worst speeders will follow – but while those topping 100mph on the motorway are an obvious sector, those clocking 41mph in a city 20mph zone will be equally subject to a stinging financial penalty – and even those doing just 31mph can be disqualified for seven to 28 days.
For phones the fine doubles to £200 but with licence penalty points doubling to six – and no alternative of ‘driver education’ to avoid points – any drivers with existing licence endorsements face increased risk of a driving ban that could cost them their job and livelihood.
The limit is 12 points over a three-year period for “totting up” – and so-called smart cameras on motorways including the M25 caught more than 52,000 offenders last year, a thousand a week.
Raised motoring penalty dates set
- March 1 – Using hand-held mobile phone points and fines double
- April 24 – Fines for most serious speeding offences rise 50%
The move follows several high-profile cases of fatalities caused by drivers using mobile phones at the wheel.
In October 2016, lorry driver Tomasz Kroker, who killed a mother and three children on the A34 near Newbury while distracted by his phone, was jailed for 10 years, shortly after a Hampshire van driver was jailed for nine for killing a cyclist on the A31 near Farnham in Surrey while texting.
Yet despite the ensuing publicity surrounding these cases and the impending rise in penalties, it was revealed only this week that 8,000 drivers were caught in a campaign last November.
Under the new penalties younger drivers are at great risk of being stripped of their licence and having to resit their tests. Any car or van driver clocking up six points for any offences within two years of gaining their licence faces an automatic disqualification and their licence rescinded. The same limit applies to HGV and bus drivers.
First offence driving bans
- The new penalties for driving using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel will mean driving bans for new drivers (less than two years since gaining licence)
But in a second move to cut road dangers, the Sentencing Council has announced that speeding fines for the most serious cases in England and Wales will rise by up to 50% after a review of sentencing guidelines for magistrates’ courts.
Whether a driver is caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, or 101mph on a motorway, they could be fined 150% of their weekly income up to £1,000 or £2,500 on a motorway.
The Sentencing Council said it wanted to ensure a “clear increase in penalty” as the seriousness of offending increases.
It said the changes were not intended to result in significant differences to current sentencing practice, but to target specific offences.
Most serious speeding category
- 20mph speed limit – recorded speed 41mph and above
- 30mph – 51mph +
- 40mph – 66mph +
- 50mph – 76-85 +
- 60mph – 91mph +
- 70mph -101mph +
Source: Sentencing Council
The current limit for a speeding fine is 100% of the driver’s weekly wage, up to £1,000 – or £2,500 if they are caught on a motorway.
When the new guidelines come into force on 24 April, magistrates will be able to increase the fine to 150% – although the upper cash limit will stay the same.
In 2015, 166,695 people in England and Wales were sentenced for speeding offences and 166,216 were fined. The average fine was £188, but two people were also sent to prison. See Smart speed camera warning to van drivers. and The law and van speed limits.
The Sentencing Council held a consultation with magistrates and criminal justice professionals in 2016 and the feedback was that current guidelines “did not properly take into account the increase in potential harm that can result as speed above the speed limit increases”.
As a result, it has increased the penalty to send a clear message.
Determining seriousness of the speeding offence
|Speed limit (mph)||Recorded speed (mph)|
|20||41 and above||31 – 40||21 – 30|
|30||51 and above||41 – 50||31 – 40|
|40||66 and above||56 – 65||41 – 55|
|50||76 and above||66 – 75||51 – 65|
|60||91 and above||81 – 90||61 – 80|
|70||101 and above||91 – 100||71 – 90|
|Sentencing range||Band C fine||Band B fine||Band A fine|
|Points/disqualification||Disqualify 7 – 56 days OR 6 points||Disqualify 7 – 28|
days OR 4 – 6 points
- Must endorse and may disqualify. If no disqualification impose 3 – 6 points
- Where an offender is driving grossly in excess of the speed limit the court should consider a disqualification in excess of 56 days.
Source: Sentencing Council