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Do higher fines deter speeding?

A 30 miles per hour road signGovernment proposals to increase speeding fines from £60 to as much as £100 have been met with anger and dismay by many in the motor industry.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke says the increase will raise an extra £30million a year which will be used to compensate victims of crime, including victims of road traffic crime.

The proposed increase will also apply to fines handed out for a range of motoring offences besides speeding.

These include mobile phone use, ignoring signals and pedestrian crossings, and failing to wear a seatbelt.

Fine increase

Currently a fixed penalty notice for speeding will cost you £60 and see three penalty points added to your licence.

The government proposes raising fines for motoring offences to between £80 and £100.

The Ministry of Justice report entitled Getting it right for victims and witnesses reads: “Penalty levels for many offences have not increased during the last 10 years.

“The current levels have fallen behind other fixed penalties and therefore risk trivialising the offences.

“The exact amount of the increase will depend on a detailed assessment of what effect the increases would have on payment rates, and on public consultation by the Department for Transport early this year.”

Motoring anger

But plans to increase motoring fines have been slammed by many in the motoring industry, including the AA.

Edmund King, president of the AA, says "Drivers would probably accept an 'inflationary' £20 increase in the £60 speeding ticket going to compensate victims of crime but wouldn’t accept any further rise.

"Drivers understand that, as with other criminal court proceedings, a guilty sentence in court automatically triggers a victim’s surcharge, regardless of the type of crime.

Kings says the AA has no objection if the government chooses to raise the victim surcharge, which is a fine that goes towards funding victim support schemes.

But he adds: "It is the possible double increase to the fixed penalty that concerns us.

"Perhaps the money would be better spent on more traffic police to deter dangerous or careless driving hence reducing the number of victims in the first place."

Unfair tax?

Motoring lawyer Jeanette Miller is a senior partner at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, a UK firm specialising solely in defending drivers who face prosecution for motoring offences.

She says many drivers will regard the increase as an unfair tax.

She says: "I can see why the government has proposed the increase, as there’s been a ten year freeze on these fines.

"But £60 is a substantial sum to drivers, so to increase fines to £100 is fairly significant and I can see why many drivers would regard it as an unfair tax."

Do the crime, pay the fine

However, plans for higher fines for motoring offences have been welcomed by road safety charity Brake.

Julie Townsend, Brake’s chief executive, said: "We urge the government to ensure this cash boost, being largely generated from drivers who endanger others by breaking traffic laws, is used to plug the gaps in support for road crash victims.

What do you think?

If you’ve been caught breaking the law, most would agree that you should do the time or, in this case, pay the fine.

So do motorists have a right to complain about the cost of fines or do you think the punishment outweighs the crime?

And what do you think is the best way to deter speeding - increased fines or more penalty points? Receive 12 points in three years and you could lose your licence.

We’d love to hear from you. You can leave your views on the messageboard below.

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick covers all things consumer for She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

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