Drivers found guilty of serious speeding offences will face harsher penalties following new sentencing guidelines for magistrates.
Motorists caught driving well above the speed limit will receive fines of more than 150% of their weekly income rather than the existing rate of 100%.
Current guidelines cap fines at £1,000, or £2,500 for drivers caught speeding on a motorway. Although the lower cap will increase, the upper cash limit of £2,500 will stay the same.
The Sentencing Council said the change has been designed to ensure there is a ‘clear increase in penalty as the seriousness of offending increases’.
The changes follow a consultation held by The Sentencing Council along with magistrates and criminal justice professionals in 2016. It was decided that previous guidelines did not take into account the increase in danger that can come as a result of driving at higher speeds. As a result, the penalty brackets will increase to send a message to drivers.
In 2015, 166,695 people were sentenced for speeding offences in England and Wales. The average speeding fine was £188, with more than 150,000 drivers being caught out by speed cameras and traffic patrol units. Following the new speeding fine changes, the average fine could increase to £282.
Sentencing guidelines must be followed unless a judge or magistrate feel it’s not within the interest of justice to do so. If a judge or magistrate believes the guidelines prevent an appropriate sentence from being given, they can sentence outside of the guidelines.