Reading Time: 7 minutes

IF you’re found guilty of a motoring offence in court the chances are it will be for one of speeding – and that could be through ignorance as much as blatant disregard for the rules of the road.

How many times do you hear of somebody being told: “Take the works van – all staff are covered to drive it”.

And how many business car drivers know that vans have lower speed limits, such as 50mph not 60mph on a single carriageway, 60 not 70 on a dual carriageway?

Speeding penalties’ rising scale

  • £100 fixed penalty fine + 3 points
  • At court, up to 6 points for serious excessive speed + higher fine + court costs + victim surcharge
  • Maximum 150% of weekly income up to £1,000 fine (£2,500 for motorway offences)
  • Possible disqualification

And before you laugh off that £100 fixed penalty fine, brace yourself for five years of penance in the form of raised insurance premiums, and, with three points on your licence, being 25% down the road to being put off the road. Banned. A passenger or pedestrian.

In April 2017 the Sentencing Council announced that speeding fines for the most serious cases in England and Wales were rising by up to 50% after a review of sentencing guidelines for magistrates’ courts.

Whether a driver is caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, or 101mph on a motorway, they could be fined 150% of their weekly income up to £1,000 or £2,500 on a motorway.

But you could be banned for seven to 28 days ‘just’ for doing more than 30mph in a 20mph limit, more than 40mph in a 30mph limit.

Most serious speeding category

  • 20mph speed limit – recorded speed 41mph and above
  • 30mph – 51mph +
  • 40mph – 66mph +
  • 50mph – 76-85 +
  • 60mph – 91mph +
  • 70mph -101mph +

Source: Sentencing Council

The Sentencing Council said it wanted to ensure a “clear increase in penalty” as the seriousness of offending increases.

Over the past decade speeding has remained the biggest motoring-related offence where the defendant is found guilty, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

Employers may be held liable

The next highest offence where defendants were found guilty was vehicle insurance-related crimes, although the percentage has fallen dramatically since 2004.

Long life of speeding endorsements

  • Speed penalty points endorsed on your licence count for three years but stay on your driving record for four years.
  • ‘Totting up’ 12 or more points brings disqualification
  • Motoring offences will be taken into account and penalised by insurance companies for five years

Businesses should be concerned about the trend because, according to the Department for Transport, more than a quarter of all traffic incidents are likely to involve somebody who is driving as part of their work at the time.

And health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as it does to all work activities so companies need to manage the risks as part of their health and safety arrangements.

A survey last year disclosed that almost half of UK motorists who drive for their job admitted to speeding whilst at work, with a quarter saying they are more likely to speed in a vehicle provided by their employer than their own.

And while the company car driver will primarily be held responsible for a speeding offence, employers may also be liable for instance where they set timetables or schedules so tight that the employee will probably be breaking the speed limits if they attempt to meet them.