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‘Satnav junkies’ risk new higher speeding fines

Over-reliance on satnavs is causing motorists to drive dangerously

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Speeding fines increase today (24 April), with the most serious offences receiving a higher maximum penalty.

But drivers could be putting themselves — and other road users — at risk by accidentally speeding thanks to an over-reliance on satnav systems.

New speeding fines

Drivers caught committing the most serious speeding offences will now face higher maximum fines based on their earnings. The new fines will apply to drivers caught speeding at more than 21mph over the road’s speed limit (known as a ‘band C’ speeding offence).

The current maximum penalty is 100% of a driver’s weekly pay, but this will now be increased to between 125% and 175% (capped at £1,000 on standard roads and £2,500 on motorways).

Satnavs contribute to speeding

According to new uSwitch research, satnavs and smartphone navigation systems could be causing drivers to inadvertently break speed limits and risk receiving the new higher fines.

Almost four out of five drivers (78%) now rely on a satnav or smartphone to navigate the roads, with more than half (56%) using the technology to advise them of speed limits along the way.

But one in six have fallen foul of relying on their satnav, with 17% saying it’s given them the wrong speed limit. Almost a fifth say relying on their satnav has caused them to drive dangerously — for example, by driving the wrong way down a one-way street of making a U-turn after receiving the wrong information from their device.

The majority of drivers (58%) admit they don’t keep their satnav up to date, which could prevent them from providing the correct speed limits. More than half (56%) of drivers also fail to identify the correct speed limits for single and dual carriageways. The same amount say they would be more likely to keep to legal speed limits if there were more road signs.

Warning over handheld devices

The new fines come after a recent update to rules on the use of handheld devices at the wheel, which could result in a £200 fine and six penalty points. But one in six (16%) of drivers admit to keeping their navigation devices behind the steering wheel, on the passenger seat or even next to the gear stick, risking serious penalties if they’re used while driving.

Rod Jones, insurance expert at uSwitch, said: “We are officially a nation of satnav junkies, but our addiction to technology is causing us to drive dangerously and risk large fines. While satnavs and smartphones are an incredibly useful tool for motorists, it is important to remember they are never a complete substitute for knowing the rules of the road.

“Tougher penalties have already been introduced around handheld device usage that could mean newer drivers losing their licence after a first offence and for all drivers the penalties have increased. And drivers will be hit even harder for speeding when the new, heavier, fines come into effect.

“It is important to remember not to handle your mobile phone or satnav while driving, no matter how tempting. If you need to change your route, having taken a wrong turn, find somewhere safe to park first.”

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