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Let’s talk about driving

A stricter fining system is being implemented to try and make drivers “think twice” – but just how much will offenders have to fork out?

BTMK – Commercial and Personal Law


As of 24 April 2017, a new type of proportional fine, based on the offender’s weekly income comes into effect; fines are capped at £2500 on motorways and £1000 elsewhere. Tougher penalties for the most serious speeding offences have been introduced in England and Wales.

Here’s what drivers need to know…

The Sentencing Council has put a new fine system in place “to ensure that there is clear increase in fine level as the seriousness of offending increases.” According to research by roadside assistance brand Green Flag, speeding offences have increased by 44 percent over the last five years in some parts of the country so it was only a matter of time.

So, how much will speeding fines be from 24 April 2017?

Previously, drivers caught speeding faced a minimum fine of £100 and three penalty points on their licence. The maximum fine was £1,000, or £2,500 if caught speeding on the motorway. Although these caps remain the same, the Council has revised the penalty system so that fines for the most serious offenders will start at 150 percent of their weekly income rather than the existing level of 100 per cent. This applies to those who drive at 41mph or more where there is a 20mph limit, 51mph or more where there is a 30mph limit or over 101mph on a motorway. However, sentencing levels for less serious offences have not changed.

How does the new fine system work?

It’s complicated, but in a nutshell, the fines have been divided into three bands – A, B and C – which correspond with how serious the speeding offence is.

Band A refers to the lowest level of speeding and includes those caught driving up to 10mph over the limit. For example, you could be driving at between 21mph and 30mph in a 20mph zone. The sentencing for this band is 3 points on your licence and a fine of around 50% of your weekly income.

Band B refers to offences where motorists reach 11-21 mph over the limit. For example, driving at 31mph to 40mph in a 20mph zone, or 56mph to 65mph in a 40mph zone. This will result in 4 to 6 points on your licence, or disqualification for between 7 and 28 days, as well as a fine of 100% of your weekly income.

Band C refers to the most serious driving offences and applies to those exceeding the speed limit by over 21 mph. For example, driving at 41mph or above in a 20mph zone or 51mph or above in a 30mph zone. This means 6 points on your licence or disqualification for between 7 and 56 days, plus a fine of 150% of your weekly income.

And a further reminder on mobile phones

It’s illegal to use your phone while driving or riding a motorcycle unless you have hands-free access, such as:

a Bluetooth headset;

voice command;

a dashboard holder.

The law still applies to you if you’re:

stationary at traffic lights;

queuing in traffic;

supervising a learner driver.

Hands-free

If you use your phone hands-free, you must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times;

The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted and you can be prosecuted;

When you can use a hand-held phone.

You can use a hand-held phone if either of these apply:

you’re safely parked;

you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

Penalties

You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if you use a hand-held phone. You can also be taken to court where you can be banned from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus)

If you passed your driving test in the last 2 years, you’ll lose your licence because your licence will be revoked if you get 6 or more points within 2 years of passing your test. You’ll have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence and pass both theory and practical parts of the driving or riding test again to get a full licence.

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