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Could £10,000 Speeding Fines Become A Reality?

posted on Jun 11 2014 by Kiri Nowak

Could £10,000 Speeding Fines Become A Reality?

The Government have proposed rather worrying changes to slap drivers with £10,000 fines for speeding. Is this really going to happen or is everyone jumping on the bandwagon and panicking unnecessarily? Understandably this news is generating a wide range of responses.

Piston Heads have taken a less dramatic angle when commenting on this issue. They spoke to the Ministry of Justice to clear things up.  ‘The fines won't be issued at will on the side of the road for those caught driving at 80mph on the motorway. Instead, they're simply an increase in the range of fines currently available to magistrates as part of a punishment for serious offences, often combined with custodial sentences.’

‘Already, magistrates look at factors such as the seriousness of the offence and your earnings before deciding the amount you'll be fined. This is not changing - instead, the total amount you could be fined for the most serious offences (especially if you're a high earner) could be increased from £2,500 to £10,000.’

It appears that these changes are true and are likely to be put in place. However, your chances of getting an extortionate fine will depend on your circumstances. The maximum penalty for breaking the speed limit on dual carriageways and other roads will soar to £4,000. The highest maximum limits, for offences including motorway speeding, could increase from £2,500 to £10,000.

Magistrate fines were at an all time high of £284m for the 2012/2013 period and it seems this figure will be even larger next year.

The key point with these changes is that they are different for people under different financial circumstances. According to Clive Coleman, a legal correspondent from the BBC, ‘Whilst the amount of a fine must reflect the seriousness of the offence, the court must also take into account the financial circumstances of the offender - in other words, their ability to pay.’

‘Normally a fine should be of an amount that is capable of being paid within 12 months.’ Basically, if you are on a low income you will not be given a fine you simply cannot afford to pay.

The National Motorists Action group is clearly against these changes calling them ‘disproportionate and draconian’ and claiming they will have a ‘serious chilling effect’.

Neil Greig from the Institute of Advanced Motorists said ‘there’s no clear evidence that increasing penalties has any impact on changing behaviour.’

However, the Justice Minister Jeremy Wright feels otherwise. He says ‘financial penalties set at the right level can be an effective way of punishing criminals and deterring them from further offending.’

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said ‘people who break the law should bear the consequences but this seems such a wholesale change to the system so you have to ask what was going so badly wrong before?’

‘Ironically we know that speeding offences have declined over recent years.’

These new speeding fines are a part of a huge overhaul of fining powers in the lower courts. It’s not just motoring offences that will come with hefty fines; these changes will apply to all sorts of fines from being drunk and disorderly in public to TV licence evasion.

What do you think?