Fines for the most serious speeding offences in England and Wales rise from today, and could potentially cost drivers thousands of pounds.
It follows a review of the sentencing guidelines given to magistrates' courts by the Sentencing Council, with it ruling that drivers who break the speed limit by a significant margin – such as driving at 41mph or above in a 20mph zone, or over 101mph on the motorway – should be fined up to 150% of their weekly income, up from the current limit of 100%.
While the percentage of income has changed, however, the upper limit for fines remains the same, meaning drivers can be fined up to £1000 on regular roads, or up to £2500 if caught speeding on the motorway.
The speeds which qualify for the newly extended fines are:
- 41mph or above in a 20mph zone
- 51mph or above in a 30mph zone
- 66mph or above in a 40mph zone
- 76mph or above in a 50mph zone
- 91mph or above in a 60mph zone
- 101mph or above in a 70mph zone
Disqualification rules are unchanged, with magistrates able to disqualify drivers for between seven and 56 days, or issue 6 penalty points. Other fines for breaking the speed limit at a lower speed also remain as they were.
The Sentencing Council also issues a selection of factors which courts must take into account, which can both increase the seriousness of the offence, or provide mitigating circumstances. Examples of factors which might aggravate the offence include speeding while towing a caravan or trailer, speeding near a school or with a high level of traffic of pedestrians nearby.
It's worth noting that magistrates are required to stick to these guidlines, unless it is in the interests of justice not to do so.
A total of 166,216 people were fined for speeding offences in England and Wales in 2015, with the average fine being £188, according to figures obtained by the BBC.
Got a motoring question? Our experts are standing by to help, just tweet us your question using #askwhatcar
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here