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One year later: How have income-based speeding fines impacted business fleets?

Using an average weekly salary, RAM Tracking has been able to model different estimated fines to work out which industries the new speeding regulations affected most.
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The minimum penalty for speeding on UK roads is a £100 fine and the deduction of three licence points. The fine usually comes in the post with photographic evidence and drivers will have a set number of days to respond.

If a driver has been caught speeding before or has broken the laws of the road, their licence may already have existing points on it. If it reaches nine points, drivers will most likely attend court regardless of what speed they were driving at when caught.

For SMEs especially, the cost of a driver being off the road can really affect the ability to meet customer needs. 

What changed?

On April 24th 2017, the new fine system came into play. Previously, there was a set fine for the amount that was over the limit. The new system calculates a fine based on speed and now, income. This stricter enforcement means offenders can be fined nearly up to 175% of weekly income, depending on how severe the offence was. Its severity is based on three different bands:

  • Band A – 1-10mph over the limit
  • Band B – 11-21mph over the limit
  • Band C – 21mph and over the limit

With Band C being the worst, it carries the highest fine of around 125-175% of a weekly wage.

Why is thinking about speeding so important?

Research by Green Flag has shown that in the last five years, speeding offences have increased by 44%. Our own research showed something as simple as the clocks going forward has had an effect on speed. For example, the roads around Liverpool saw an increase of +2.2% when our clocks went forward.

It might sound a small figure, it’s important to remember even the slightest increase or decrease can cause traffic build-up, which in turn creates a higher probability of an accident and usually worse driving decisions. Ensuring SMEs uphold a duty of care surrounding employees who are on the road for business purposes is important. 

How does this affect those who use vehicles for business?

The change to the speeding fine calculation influences SMEs the most, as not only can the fine be detrimental to short-term cashflow but the additional points can hurt overheads.

Penalty points can contribute to increased insurance premiums and in some cases, a collection of 12 penalty points may see disqualification. For trades that rely on a relatively small fleet of vehicles, such a decision could be enough to wipe out business.

With this in mind, we’ve made a speeding calculator based on various occupations to see who is worse of. This included plumbers, electricians, couriers, maintenance engineers, builders, HGV drivers, sales reps and landscapers. 

Who has been hit the worst?

With a higher than average salary, building firms will be hurt hardest by the fine system. Our calculator estimated that a Band C offence could end up costing over £1,080. Furthermore, if a small building firm faced the maximum of a 56 day disqualification, it could end up losing £8,075 as it could no longer work due to a lack of vehicle. 

Bad news for plumbing and electrician-focused firms

Offenders who happen to be from plumbing or electrician focused small firms are also likely to be hard hit. A B and C offence will see a fine in excess of £910 and £930 respectively as well as multiple licence points. A fine of this size could prove to be real hammer blow to the bottom line and severely disrupt business.

What about companies that have a fleet of drivers?

For larger SMEs that employ drivers for fleet such as maintenance engineers and couriers, the fines can start as low as £200 and go as high as £940. As previously mentioned, whilst the fine does go directly to the driver, the business may also be punished if insurance premiums for business usage increase.

While larger SMEs obviously have a larger cashflow, this is still a flashpoint that needs to be avoided if a business is to remain agile and able to respond to customers efficiently. A disqualification is also likely to cause disruption to the business and in some cases, there will be a need to employ a new driver whilst the offender is “out of action”.

What can businesses do about speeding?

Whilst constant training and education is the best route to deterring speeding, unfortunately, other measures are often required. Just because a driver isn’t getting caught, doesn’t mean that it should be allowed or encouraged. Speeding laws don’t just protect drivers, but the vehicles themselves.

Accidents caused by speeding are not just traumatic but also extremely costly to the vehicle owner. 

Chris McClellan is CEO at RAM Tracking

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