You've probably heard the headlines; PH digs deeper to find out what's really going on
Speeding is back in the headlines today with the Government proposing dramatic sounding new fines of up to £10,000 for offences including breaking motorway limits. Justice Minister Jeremy Wright has revealed that the maximum level of fines issued in magistrates' courts could be increased dramatically.
You'll be wanting to keep an eye on these
However, PistonHeads has spoken to the Ministry of Justice and, despite a number of tabloids reporting differently, this is necessarily as draconian or dramatic as it sounds. Who'd have thought.
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.
Essentially, if you're a footballer caught at 140mph on the M6, you'll be hit a little harder than you would have been previously.
Headline grabbing fines the new maximum
But this doesn't mean that all speeding fines will suddenly be based on income. The cap is simply there to prevent cases like that in Switzerland which saw a wealthy motorist fined £656,000. Admittedly, he was driving his Mercedes at 100mph over the limit. But still.
The standard fixed penalty notice for speeding is staying the same at £100 and three points - so if you're snapped by a camera at slightly over the speed limit, the new proposals won't affect you unless you land yourself in court. And, this isn't just the Government continuing its war on motorists. Cyclists could be hit with fines of up to £800 for 'unauthorised cycle racing in a public place', and drunks could be slapped with a £4,000 fine for being drunk and disorderly.
While the Ministry of Justice says fines are not - and will not become - a replacement for time inside, they have admitted that the amount of fines collected hit a record £284m at the end of 2012/13, and the end of this financial year is likely to see even more money raised through such penalties.
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This is of course purely about safety and deterring breaking limits, it's in no way seen as a way of bolstering the governments coffers. No Siree, that's literally the last thing they considered when they brought these new measures in
smilo99610 Jun 2014
If the amount collected by fines is currently 284mn then it is hardly a money making excerice is this rises by 50mn. UK GDP is in the trillions. If it is to do with more means testing for fines and widening the scope of fines then honestly great. Good to see the tabloids keeping it real as ever.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz10 Jun 2014
Ker-ching! This is of course purely about safety and deterring breaking limits
Have you read or understood anything about this? It appears you haven't.
There are 5 bands of fines used by courts for all offence types, which happens to include motoring ones.
The court can fine you up to the maximum within the band to which your offence fits.
All that is proposed is the maximum amounts in each band are to be raised.
This applies to all offences, not specifically motoring ones.