FDR Law is calling for drivers to ensure they fully understand recent changes, or risk paying dearly
Following the introduction of tougher new driving laws that came into force on 24th April 2017, hundreds of motorists could be facing much heftier fines; in some cases, 150% of their net weekly income. While motoring groups such as the AA and the RAC have welcomed the moves, Gary Heaven, Solicitor at FDR Law Warrington, warns that drivers need to ensure that they both understand, and abide by, the new laws - or be prepared to pay the price.
Just over half of prosecutions for motoring offences in 2015 were for speed limit and vehicle insurance offences. According to breakdown group Green Flag, the number of speeding offences has risen by 44 per cent over the last five years; while the RAC Foundation confirms that both the number of people prosecuted and convicted for motoring offences has increased by 9% per cent over the last year.
“The new rules really represent a much tougher approach to speeding designed to make drivers seriously think twice before putting their foot down. Whilst this is still new legislation, it’s vital that motorists make themselves aware of the increased severity of these implications as for many the new penalties could have crippling consequences.”
People who use satnavs could also be in for a shock, as results of a new survey by USwitch reveal one in six motorists have been told the wrong speed limit by the device. With more than half (56%) of the 1,783 UK driving licence holders tested not knowing the correct speed limits for single and dual carriageways, many could be affected by the new laws.
What do drivers need to know?
- Drivers will pay more for speeding - Before, a speeding motorist could expect to pay a minimum fine of £100 and receive three points on his or her licence. The maximum fine was £1,000, or £2,500 if you were caught on the motorway. Now if you are caught speeding and end up in court, drivers can face fines up to 175% of their weekly salary – depending on just how far over the limit you were.
- The fines are calculated according to the seriousness of the offence - Fines are split into three bands – A, B and C – which relate to the seriousness of the offence. Drivers caught driving between 1mph and 10mph over the limit are in Band A and can be fined 25%-75% of their weekly wage. Those going between 11mph and 21mph are in Band B and face a fine of between 75% to 125% of their weekly salary. And those in Band C – driving 21mph and over the limit – could face a fine of between 125% and 175% of their wage. Penalties are still capped at £1,000 for normal roads and £2,500 for motorways, but the new laws mean a lot more speeding drivers could be hit with close the maximum.
- The worst offenders could also receive a ban and six points - These larger fines apply to those caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone – typically in heavily populated areas – 51mph in a 30mph zone (most likely residential areas, in town centres etc.) or 66mph on a 40mph stretch. If motorists break the 100mph barrier on the motorway and you are likely to be banned for 56 days. The worst offenders could also receive six points on their licence. However, these are only rough guidelines as magistrates will still judge every case on the facts presented and can use their discretion. First-time offenders, for example, may not get an immediate bigger fine but be sent on a speed awareness course. Repeat offenders face the prospect of little leniency. The more a driver is over the speed limit, and the more reckless their actions, the more likely they are to receive a tougher sentence.