Jamie Griersonand agencies
Monday 24 April 2017 10.18 BST
Drivers caught at speeds excessively above legal limits face higher penalties in England and Wales amid warnings that police officers may not have the resources to enforce the tougher punishments.
Under new guidelines for magistrates, fines for motorists caught doing 51mph in a 30mph zone or 101mph on a motorway will start from 150% of their weekly income, rather than the previous level of 100%.
The sentencing council said the move aimed to ensure there was a “clear increase in fine level as the seriousness of offending increases”.
It follows responses to a consultation arguing previous guidelines did not properly take into account the increase in potential harm that can result as speed above the limit rises.
Two hundred and forty-four people were killed in crashes that occurred when a driver was breaking the speed limit on Britain’s roads in 2015.
The director of the RAC Foundation, Steve Gooding, questioned whether police officers had enough resources to ensure the tougher punishments had an impact on road safety.
The number of full-time dedicated roads policing officers in England and Wales (excluding London) fell by 27% between 2010 and 2015.
Gooding said: “While we broadly support linking the amount of the penalty with income, the cap on the level of fines means that this link is broken for high-income drivers – hardly a level playing field.
“For speeding penalties to be effective three things have to be true: they have to be severe enough to hurt, motorists need to know what they are and believe there is a realistic prospect of being caught if they go too fast.
“We worry that other pressures on police time will seriously undermine the effectiveness of this stiffening of sanctions.”