Warning over plans to increase speeding fines

Lawyer Richard Wood of Keep Your Licence.

Lawyer Richard Wood of Keep Your Licence. - Credit: supplied

Speeding fines for motorists are set to quadruple, warns lawyer Richard Wood.

The government has outlined proposals to increase speeding fines to £10,000 for offences committed on the motorway, with the potential for summary cases under the new reforms to be unlimited.

These new fines faced by drivers caught breaking the law, while dramatically increasing, are there to deter speeding and other motoring offences from being committed. But it is not just motorists who are going to feel the pressure, as the new policies are intended to bring in changes to the fines policy in magistrates courts for the first time since 1991.

Current sentencing is limited in summary cases, in the worst instances, to £5,000. In the proposed reforms, the maximum fine will become unlimited, mirroring the policy in the crown court for more serious offences. These will apply to offences such as careless driving and driving without insurance and mobile phone offences.

The current maximum fine for speeding on a motorway is £2,500. This is set to increase to £10,000. For speeding on other roads, the maximum financial punishment will rise from £1,000 to £4,000.

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Motoring groups have declared the proposed changes 'draconian' and claim in theory they present too harsh a financial penalty. The government claims they will be an effective and necessary deterrent to motorists who are breaking the law. But there are fears that it will deter innocent motorists from challenging fixed penalty notices which have been improperly or unfairly issued.

Of course, the magistrates will still be required to take into account the ability of a defendant to pay any financial penalty. Doubtless the court will still be under an obligation not to impose a fine which cannot be paid off within 12 months.

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The new legislation has been laid in Parliament and is set to be discussed shortly in the Commons. Keep Your Licence will be able to advise you of the significance of these changes as soon as they come into force.

If you have concerns about any motoring offence telephone Keep Your Licence on 0800 7076004.

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