SPEEDING drivers could be fined up to £10,000 under proposals to be revealed today by Justice Minister Jeremy Wright.

Penalties for disorderly drunks could also be increased to £4,000 in magistrates courts and fines for the most serious offences such as drink driving could be unlimited.

The dramatic hike is the first in more than 20 years and will see some fines increase fourfold.

Mr Wright said he believes magistrates should have greater powers to punish offenders.

But motoring groups said the new fines were disproportionate and could put people off challenging unfair speeding tickets.

Mr Wright said: “Financial penalties set at the right level can be an effective way of punishing criminals and deterring them from further offending.

“Magistrates are the cornerstone of our justice system and these changes will provide them with greater powers to deal with the day-to-day offences that impact their local communities.”

The amount of fines collected reached an all-time high of £284 million at the end of last year and the proposals will see a huge increase in money collected.

AA President Edmund King, said: “We would not condone excessive speeding in any way but fines have to be proportionate to the offence and one has to question whether increasing the fines four-fold is proportionate.”

But James McLoughlin of road safety charity Brake supported the proposals.

He said: “Speed is one of the biggest killers on our roads and, through the support we provide for victims of road crashes, we bear witness to the devastating effects of speeding.

“Limits are there for a reason, and more needs to be done to deter those who choose to put other road users at risk by breaking them.''

Under the proposed changes the maximums in each category will increase from:  

  • Level 1 - £200 to £800. Includes unauthorised cycle racing on public ways.
  • Level 2 - £500 to £2,000. Includes driving a motor cycle without a protective helmet.
  • Level 3 - £1,000 to £4,000. Includes the sale of alcohol to a drunk person or being drunk and disorderly in a public place.
  • Level 4 - £2,500 to £10,000. Includes speeding on the motorway.