RAC Cars News


Speeding fine increases to act as deterrent

By raccars Published

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A set of new proposals by the British government could see speeding fines go up to a preposterous £10,000. Under the new scheme, magistrates will be given more power to deal with motoring offences and raise the maximum fine levels, particularly for drivers charged with speeding on motorways.

Currently the maximum financial penalty that can be applied to drivers who break the 70mph speed limit on UK motorways is £2,500, but the revised legislation could allow magistrates' courts to increase this by 300%. Other motoring offences could also be subject to more severe penalties, including breaking the speed limit on other roads, using a mobile phone while driving, and driving without insurance.

The system currently in place classes these offences at five levels, with fines capped at £200 for level one and going up to £5,000 for level five. If the new regulations are imposed, the first four levels will see the maximum fine applicable increase fourfold, with fine limits being removed entirely for the most serious offences or for repeat offenders.

The new legislation won't only apply to motorists however, because failing to buy a TV licence or public drunk and disorderliness could also see the current £1,000 maximum fine go up to £4,000.

As frightening as a £10,000 speeding fine sounds, magistrates are expected to be circumspect in their application of their new powers. Offences resulting in the maximum financial penalty will be few and far between as courts will take into account the circumstances of an individual case and the offender's financial situation. Nonetheless, motoring groups have criticised the proposals, calling the idea Draconian and disproportionate.

They suggest that the potential of such a large fine will prevent motorists from appealing unjust speeding tickets to avoid the possibility of the case escalating to magistrates' court. At the moment, it is standard practice for police to issue motorists caught by traffic officers or speed cameras with three licence penalty points and a £100 fine. Motorists can appeal the punishment, which can mean going to magistrates' courts. If a magistrate finds against the motorist, there is a danger that £100 fine could turn into £10,000.

The RAC has expressed concern about how traffic offences are being enforced, pointing out that the government appears to be regularly increasing penalty levels for motorists that increase revenue, rather than investing in road safety issues and better policing and enforcement.

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