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Speeding fines could face a 300% increaseBack

SpeedingDrivers who speed on motorways could face a fine of up to £10,000.

Under new proposals for England and Wales, the maximum fines imposed for magistrates are set to rise dramatically and could increase from the current £2,500 limit to as much as £10,000.

Further fines could be increased four-fold from £1,000 to £4,000 for those who break the speed limit on dual carriageways and other roads under the new proposals.

Motoring groups have protested against the massive increases citing they could deter innocent motorists from challenging speeding tickets in the court for fear they may face a huge penalty if found guilty.

Further measures will see magistrates being given the power to impose unlimited fines for the first time, for more serious offences such as careless driving and driving without insurance.

Jeremy Wright, the justice minister, said: “Financial penalties set at the right level can be an effective way of punishing criminals and deterring them from further offending.

“Magistrates are the cornerstone of our justice system and these changes will provide them with greater powers to deal with the day-to-day offences that impact their local communities.”

But motoring groups believe that the sharp increases could lead to a “chilling effect” on drivers who feel that they have been wrongly accused of a crime.

Edmund King, president of the Automobile Association, said: “For the vast majority of drivers the prospect of the existing £2,500 fine is a pretty good deterrent against excessive speeding on the motorway.

“We would not condone excessive speeding in any way but fines have to be proportionate to the offence and one has to question whether increasing the fines four-fold is proportionate, and it probably is not.

“If we had more cops in cars on the motorway that would be a much more effective deterrent.”

The new legislation for higher fines has been laid out in Parliament and if plans went ahead a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice has confirmed it would be the first change to the penalty structure in 23 years.

The government is continuing to collect a record amount in fines, with £284 million taken in 2012-13. The changes are part of a major overhaul of fining powers in the lower courts which will apply to all types of crimes as well as motoring offences.

 

Posted by Leana Kell on 10/06/2014