In recent months, police forces across the UK have warned of a crackdown on speeding motorists, with greater enforcement of speeding fines and lower tolerance for what the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) claims are ‘irresponsible and dangerous drivers.’
But what will be the impact on the UK’s motorists? Some observers claim higher fines are on the horizon with fewer verbal warnings and a greater number of court orders issued on the spot. This article is here to provide you with all the information you need to know about new speeding fines. However, you are always welcome to search our solicitor directory to find a specialist who will help you with your specific case.
Campaigners have fought for many years to get speeding fines in the UK increased. Some are of the view that the current UK system makes little sense; indeed, with the minimum speeding fine being £100 and the fine for throwing litter out of a car being £150. It seems that dangerous motorists may be punished less than lazy ones. With patience running out for this ostensibly illogical system and road fatalities and casualties increasing, the British public is overwhelmingly backing proposals for new fines that would be harsher on speeding motorists.
Speeding motorists in the UK are caught in one of two ways: by a police officer or by a speed camera.
If caught by a police officer, the officer will explain to you why you have been stopped (usually informing you of the speed you were measured at and confirming the speed limit on the road at issue) and then they will explain how they are going to respond to the incident. For minor speeding offences, the officer may give you a verbal warning, but for more serious offences they can either issue a fixed penalty notice (an ‘on-the-spot’ fine or one sent to your address) or they will order you to go to court (with the letter explaining the process sent to your address).
If caught by a speed camera, the process is slightly longer. Within fourteen days, you will be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution, which is a letter sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle setting out that the vehicle was detected speeding and that the driver of the vehicle needs to be identified.
If the driver was you, you can respond directly to the letter with how you would like to proceed (pleading guilty or not guilty to the speeding offence) and, if applicable, agreeing to attend a driver education course or to pay a speeding fine.
If someone else was the driver, you must fill out the Section 172 paperwork (included with the Notice of Intended Prosecution) with details of that driver and a new Notice will accordingly be issued to them. If the driver was someone else, it is important that you do not hand your Notice over to them; they must fill out the Notice that is sent to them directly otherwise you will be processed as the driver and not them.
If you are caught by a police officer, you may be issued a fine on the spot or you may have to wait for the paperwork to arrive in the post. In the latter case, it usually takes around fourteen days (two weeks) for the Notice of Intended Prosecution to arrive. The same is true if you are caught by speed cameras. It usually takes around fourteen days for the speeding fine to come through. Once you receive your Notice, you have 28 days to respond. In some circumstances, you may be able to pay a lower fine if you respond quickly to the Notice.
Speeding fines in the UK start from the baseline of a £100 fine and three points on your driving licence. This penalty increases according to what’s known as the ‘band system’, which compares your measured speed against the speed limit for that road and indicates a penalty accordingly.
|Speed Limit||Band A||Band B||Band C|
|20 mph||21-30 mph||31-41 mph||>41mph|
|30 mph||31-40 mph||41-50 mph||>50 mph|
|40 mph||41-55 mph||56-65 mph||>66|
|50 mph||51-65 mph||66-75 mph||>76|
|60 mph||61-80 mph||81-90 mph||>91|
|70 mph||71-90 mph||91-100 mph||>101|
|Fine||25 - 75% of weekly income||75 - 125% of weekly income||125 - 175% of weekly income|
|Points||3||4 to 6||6|
|Disqualification||-||7 to 28 days||7 to 56 days|
For example, if you are driving on a 30 mph road and your speed is measured at 53 mph, you will fall into Band C and accordingly will face Band C punishments of six penalty points or seven to 56 days disqualification from driving in addition to a potential fine of 125-175% of your weekly income. £1000 is the maximum fine for most roads, with £2500 being the maximum fine for motorways.
Speeding fines in the UK are often stated as a minimum and a maximum, with £100 being the lowest and £2500 being the highest if travelling on a motorway. But this does not tell us much about how they are calculated. The calculation is somewhat complex, starting with an assessment against the band system and adjusted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or a judge if necessary.
Factors that may cause your speeding fine to be increased include:
If you end up going to court, you may submit what is known as ‘mitigating circumstances to the judge, which may result in your speeding ticket being overturned or your fine reduced. Typical mitigating circumstances might be the fact that there was little or no traffic on the road, that the driver had a temporary lapse in concentration (sun in their eyes or distracted by someone unpredictable), or that little or no damage was actually caused by the speeding.
As it stands, the last time that speeding fines were increased in the UK was in the spring of 2017. But new speeding fines are understood to be on the horizon as a result of campaigners’ efforts and the resultant shift in government policy.
Alison Hernandez of the Police and Crime Commission has argued that the minimum fine should be raised from £100 to £130. Whilst £30 may not be a huge increase on paper, it represents a 30% increase that many drivers may not be able to pay as easily. The fact that harsher fines can be determined by the driver’s weekly wage, too, may mean that increases there could attract considerably higher sums.
If you are issued with a speeding fine and you wish to challenge it, you have a number of options. It may be possible to submit a not guilty plea and/or mitigating circumstances yourself, but it is advisable to find a solicitor who specialises in motoring offences if this is your intended course of action. The laws around new speeding fines can be complex. Expert advice may help you avoid thousands in fines and court fees if you are later found guilty.