New stricter sentencing guidelines for serious speeding offences have come into force in England and Wales.

Fines for drivers caught doing 51mph in a 30mph zone or 101mph on a motorway will start from 150% of weekly income, instead of the previous level of 100%. This means that, for someone earning £30,000 a year or £577 a week, the starting fine has risen from £577 to £866.

The new measures come after responses to a consultation suggested previous guidelines did not fully take into account the increase in potential harm the more the speed rises above the limit. The Sentencing Council new guidelines reflect a clear penalty increase as the level of offending increases. Drivers speeding at 41mph or faster in a 20mph limit will also see an increase in fines. The higher penalties will apply to drivers whose speeding offence falls into the most serious category, known as Band C.

However, because the maximum fines allowed by law remains the same, speeding drivers cannot be fined more than £1,000 unless the offence takes place on a motorway, where the limit is £2,500.

In addition to the fines, Band C offenders face driving bans of between one and eight weeks or alternatively may have six penalty points added to their licence.

The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to the offender’s licence. This applies to Band A offences, which include travelling at 31-40mph in a 30mph zone or no more than 90mph on the motorway. The Band A starting fine is set at 50% of weekly income or £100, whichever is higher.

Drivers who are caught doing between 41mph and 50mph in a 30mph zone or between 91mph and 100mph on the motorway are guilty of Band B offences. The sentencing guidelines dictate that the punishment here is either between four and six penalty points or a driving ban of up to four weeks. The starting fine for Band B offences is 100% of weekly income.

As with any income-based fine, the amount can be increased or decreased depending on whether the magistrate concerned believes there are any aggravating or mitigating factors. Aggravating factors may include previous convictions, poor weather conditions and the location where the offence took place – for example, if it was near a school or hospital.

On the other hand, magistrates can reduce fines for offenders with no record of law breaking or where there was a genuine emergency.

Handsfree Group Sales Director, Chris Baines said “Our teams have solutions to keep your fleet safe and out of trouble. Call now for expert advice”.