Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire Talks: Will tougher new speeding laws improve safety on our roads?

Serious and sadly fatal crashes are reported on our roads on an almost weekly basis, with some blaming drivers’ speed for such accidents. With new laws coming into place next week, Lincolnshire Reporter has looked into what these actually entail and what difference they will make to roads in the county.

The new laws will be enforceable from Monday, April 24, and will see tougher penalties for those who speed.

Tougher penalties

The new penalties for speeding offences will now be a lot harsher, with the cash penalty itself based on how much you earn per week.

There are also easier guidelines for the courts to work to.

According to new regulations, there are three penalty bands that are dependent on the severity of the offence.

For example, Band C is for the high end offender, who can be fined (for extreme speed) 150% of their weekly income but can receive a ban of between seven and 56 days OR six points instead.

As an example of the band system, for anyone breaking the limit in a 30mph zone:

  • Band A is for lower infringements, just over the limit (31- 40mph in a 30mph zone) where you would receive a fine equating to 50% of your weekly income. This band will also add points.
  • Band B is mid-range, (41 – 50mph in a 30mph zone) where you would pay 100% of your weekly income. This band can disqualify you for seven – 28 days OR you would receive between four and six points.
  • Band C is the high speed offences, (51mph and above in a 30mph zone) where you would pay 150% of your weekly income.. This band can disqualify for seven – 56 days OR can add six points to your licence.

Currently, speeding offences are based on 10% of the limit plus (sometimes 1, 2 or 3mph) to ensure motorists are not prosecuted for the ‘thickness of the needle’ on the speedometer.

This threshold will still apply in terms of assessing whether a person is speeding, but for the law, the offence occurs at 1mph over the limit.

Seriousness of an offence

Speeding penalties will also be assessed and issued based on the seriousness of the offence.

Factors increasing the seriousness of the offence include:

  • Previous convictions, having regard to a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction
  • Offence committed whilst on bail
  • Offence committed on licence or post sentence supervision
  • Poor road or weather conditions
  • Driving LGV, HGV, PSV etc.
  • Towing caravan/trailer
  • Carrying passengers or heavy load
  • Driving for hire or reward
  • Evidence of unacceptable standard of driving over and above speed
  • Location e.g. near school
  • High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity

Factors reducing seriousness or reflecting personal mitigation include:

  • No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
  • Good character and/or exemplary conduct
  • Genuine emergency established

Making our roads safer?

According to road safety charities, speeding is a major factor in one in four fatal crashes in the UK, but will these new laws change this?

John Siddle, communications manager of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, told Lincolnshire Reporter: “These changes have been brought in by the government to, I believe, remove the disparity when people are fined for speeding.

“A £100 fine for speeding means little or nothing to someone being paid £100k per week however, this will make the fine more of a punishment and may make some drivers think twice about how they drive.

“Speed remains as one of our main causation factors in collisions that kill or seriously injure road users in Lincolnshire.”

A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake added: “Speed is a contributory factor in one in four fatal crashes in the UK – crashes that have a devastating impact on those left seriously injured or bereaved.

“The new penalties which are coming into place will hopefully provide a much stronger deterrent to drivers who choose to drive dangerously on our roads.”

Your thoughts

Many readers have suggested that these new laws will not deter drivers who speed as they will always do it anyway, however some agree it could make our roads safer.

Adam Poole, from Lincoln said:”You could make speeding a capital offence and that still would not stop it.

“The issue is one of education.

“Drivers need to realise that one should drive at a speed that takes into account their driving ability, their vehicle, the weather and the traffic conditions – and sometimes that means a lower speed than the legal limit.

“Perhaps regular retesting is the best way forward.”

Adrian Larder added: “Within limits a speeding driver is not always a dangerous driver.

“Dangerous drivers take silly overtaking risks, take tight bends at 50mph plus on country roads where the limit is 60mph and under speeding laws are committing no offence yet are going way too fast, it is all a revenue creating scheme.”

Chris Page said: “I agree with the 30mph limit and in some cases near schools and residential areas maybe [there should be a] a 20mph limit heavily enforced.

“But as cars have become safer the 60mph and 70mph limit should be looked at and increased to suit modern vehicles.”