increased fines for speeding offences

Marking an increased seriousness or for financial gain?

The Sentencing Counsel has announced an increase in the financial penalty for the highest tier speeding offences. Convicted motorists will now face a fine 50% in excess of that which they had previously, calculated against their income.

Whilst there is logic in the change, questions could be asked as to the rationale behind making it at this time. It is usually the case that such changes are made on the preface that it will decrease offending and increase road safety however, a more cynical view would simply be that it would increase revenue taken by way of fines.

Were it the case that the harsher penalty was intended to deter offending, an increase in the number of penalty points or disqualification periods may well have been more appropriate. The Sentencing Counsel have however simply increased the financial penalties which arguably is not the greatest deterrent in such cases. The increase will only be effective against motorists not accepting fixed penalties, falling with the top speeding band. From our experience, it is rarely within the knowledge or mindset of an offending driver that they risk paying a fine, their consideration is predominantly on the affect conviction will have on their driving licence.

In our view, the rate of offending is unlikely to show any significant decrease as a result of this change but of course the revenue taken will certainly increase.