According to the World Health Organisation, around 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic accidents of which, nearly half of those dying are known as ‘vulnerable road users’, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. It is predicted that without sustained action, road traffic crashes will become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. As a result, measures are being put in place in an attempt to reduce the number accidents in the UK.
As of 24th April 2017, the way in which speeding fines are calculated has changed. Under the new rules, drivers can be charged up to 175 percent of their weekly wage for a major offence or up to 50 percent for a minor breach of the speed limit.
It’s not always true that the faster you drive the more likely you are to cause an accident. However, research has shown an increase in average speed is directly related both to the likelihood of a crash occurring and to the severity of the injuries obtained. The World Health Organisation estimates that an increase of 1 km/h in the average vehicle speed results in an increase of 3% in the incidence of crashes resulting in injury and an increase of 4-5% in the incidence of fatal crashes.
Injuries can vary massively, from a few cuts and bruises to whiplash and other soft tissue injuries, to fractures or in the worst of scenarios the injuries can be fatal.
The hope is that these penalty increases will make people think again before risking going above that speed limit, reducing the number of road traffic accidents.
How the new speeding fines are calculated
Fines are calculated by reference to an individual’s relevant weekly income. Once that sum has been determined by the court (which requires the provision of financial information by a person convicted of an offence punishable by a fine), the court must then determine, by reference to the sentencing guideline, which Band the offence falls into, ranging from Band A to Band C (with Band C being the most serious). Each Band sets a suggested percentage of the relevant weekly income to impose as a fine.
The most significant change effected by the new rules is the percentage that can be applied by the court in the most serious of speeding cases. Prior to 24 April, the starting point for offenders who fell within Band C was usually a sum equivalent to 100% of their relevant weekly income. From the 24 April, however, that starting point has increased to 150%, with the range extending to 175% in particularly serious cases. As an example, if your relevant weekly income is, say, £400.00, then your potential fine increases from that sum (being 100% of your relevant weekly income) to £600.00 (150%) or even £700.00 (175%) if the offence is particularly serious. That is before the prosecution costs and victim surcharge is applied.