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Motorists face 70 per cent rise in speeding finesBack

In a bid to help victims of crime, motorists may face a huge increase in speeding fines to as much as £100.

The programme, disclosed by Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, is aimed at helping to fill a funding gap for victims of crime, whereby drivers could see a standard £60 fine increase by almost 70 per cent.

Those motorists who decide to go to court to challenge speeding tickets and other more serious driving offences, could also end up paying out as much as £120.

The new scheme comes as part of a huge expansion to the Victims Surcharge scheme which at the moment, charges a fee of just £15 on top of the fines issued by courts.

Mr Clarke is keen for the scheme to now extend to all criminals, including those who have been imprisoned for serious offences such as murder and rape.

Motoring groups have reacted by stating that the plan is another scheme to “tax” drivers and simply reinforces the view that speeding tickets are just a way to raise further cash for the government as opposed to actually enforcing the law.

It is proposed that half of the additional money from speeding fines will be used as compensation for victims, whilst the remaining money will be injected into road safety schemes.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Clearly, speeding motorists are law breakers but their punishment should fit the crime, not turn into a tax paid only by this group of offenders simply because it is easy to collect.

“This seems plain wrong. Adequately compensating victims is one thing, but raising the cash to do so from a particular group of offenders simply because it is easy is quite another.

“This goes against any sense of justice. Either everyone is equal before the law, not least in terms of the scale and reason for punishment, or else the system falls into disrepute.”

The current Victim Surcharge has been running since 2007 and involves a £15 payment being added to any fines imposed by the courts. The issue with the scheme as it stands is that six out of seven offenders can avoid paying it, if they do not actually receive a court fine.

The new surcharge scheme is intended to be applicable to all offenders and will introduce new contributions which will range from between £15 and £120 depending on the seriousness of the crime. Mr Clarke hopes the overall expansion will raise an extra £50 million a year.

He said: “Victims in this country must be able to rely on a justice system which punishes offenders properly and ensures that victims who suffer serious consequences are properly helped and supported.

“Cash compensation should be better focused on blameless victims of the most serious crimes and more support for victims should be funded by offenders rather than taxpayers.

 

Posted by Leana Kell on 01/02/2012