We all dread being caught for speeding and yet people still do it. Historically, there have been set fines depending on the speed limit and how much it was exceeded. Yet, government statistics showed that around half of drivers exceed the speed limit in 30mph zones, with up to 97% exceeding 20 mph restrictions at certain times of the day.
The usual penalty for speeding is a fixed £100 fine and three points on your licence. However, in order to make the punishment fit the offence and act as a more effective deterrent for people from all income brackets, the penalty structure was changed in 2017. Here’s what you need to know.
Most speeding offences will be categorised as a minor offence and will incur the usual penalty of £100 and points. If it is your first offence, you can take a speed awareness course and avoid the points and the fine. However, sometimes the police will decide to prosecute; usually because of the severity of the offence or because you are a prolific speeder. If you are prosecuted, if you ignore your speeding fine, or if you dispute the speeding fine and fixed penalty, you will be summoned to court, where your offence will be assessed and put into one of three categories:
- Band A – up to 10 miles over the speed limit.
- Band C – 11 - 20 miles over the speed limit.
- Band C – more than 20 miles over the limit.
Instead of coming with a fixed fine, the penalty for each band will depend on your income. There is a basic guide, but the magistrate can fine you up to 25% above or 25% below the recommended fine. The recommended penalties for each band are:
- Band A : 3 points and a fine of up to 50% of their relevant weekly earnings. (discretionary 25% - 75%).
- Band B: 4-6 points or a disqualification of 7-14 days, 100% of relevant weekly earnings (discretionary 75% - 125%).
- Band C: 6 points or a disqualification of 7-56 days, 150% of relevant weekly earnings (125% - 175%)
Regardless of earnings, the fine is capped at £1,000 for all offences except motorway offences, which has a maximum fine of £2,500.
The 10% rule
Many drivers remember their driving instructor teaching them the 10% rule – which allows you to go 10% +2 mph over the speed limit. This is not, however law and while police officers are allowed to use their discretion, you could be fined for speeding if you are going just one mile over the limit.
Know your limits
If you are caught speeding, not knowing the speed limit is not a valid excuse. Nor is an emergency, or the excuse that the roads were empty. You could dispute your ticket if you weren’t driving, if information on the ticket is incorrect, or if there were wrong or obscured speed limit signs. If you are not sure about how to tell the speed limits, book a refresher course with a local driving instructor to help keep you safe on the roads.