Maximum motorway speeding fines set to soar to £10,000
Motoring groups condemn the 'draconian' fourfold increase as magistrates are set to get more powers
Maximum fines for offences such as speeding, driving without insurance and selling alcohol to under-18s are due to rise dramatically.
Justice Minister Jeremy Wright wants to give magistrates greater powers to deal with day-to-day offences that impact local communities. Fines for motorway speeding could increase from £2,500 to £10,000, reports the BBC.
Wright said that "financial penalties set at the right level can be an effective way of punishing criminals and deterring them from further offending".
But Rupert Lipton, director of the National Motorists Action Group, condemned the massive increases as "disproportionate and draconian".
Lipton said raising the maximum fine fourfold is "clearly an over-reaction" and could deter motorists from challenging their speeding ticket in court for fear of being fined the full £10,000.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, pointed out that speeding offences and recorded traffic speeds have declined in recent years and questioned why a wholesale change was needed.
Here are the proposed changes:
- Level 1: maximum fine for offences such as unauthorised cycle racing on public ways and being found drunk on a highway will increase from £200 to £800.
- Level 2: maximum fine for offences such as driving a motor cycle without a protective helmet and being drunk in a football ground will increase from £500 to £2,000.
- Level 3: maximum fine for offences such as selling alcohol to a drunk person or being drunk and disorderly in a public place will increase from £1,000 to £4,000.
- Level 4: maximum fine for offences such as speeding on a motorway or racially aggravated disorderly behaviour will increase from £2,500 to £10,000.
- Level 5: for offences such as vehicle licence fraud, dangerous driving and some thefts, magistrates could be given unlimited fining powers for the first time.
Any new legislation would first have to be debated in parliament, but the Ministry of Justice has insisted that prison sentences would "continue to be used for serious offenders and fines will not become an alternative for those who would otherwise be sent to custody".