Speeding fines can catch you out at any point, and from a variety of different locations and cameras. No matter where you get caught, or what catches you, the minimum you can expect to pay is £100 and have 3 penalty points added to your driving licence. We’ve all heard about points on your licence and how important they are, but what do they actually mean for you, and how do they work?
How fast is speeding in the UK?
The speed limit in the UK not only depends on what type of road it is that you’re driving on, but also what type of vehicle is being driven on the road. The list is so wide ranging, that it is easier for us to list them all in the table below.
|Maximum speed (shown in miles per hour)|
|Vehicle Type||Built up areas||Single Carriageways||Dual carriageways||Motorways|
|Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles||30||60||70||70|
|Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and dual-purpose vehicles when towing caravans or trailers||30||50||60||60|
|Motorhomes or motor caravans (not more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight)||30||60||70||70|
|Motorhomes or motor caravans (more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight)||30||50||60||70|
|Buses, coaches and minibuses (not more than 12 metres overall length)||30||50||60||70|
|Buses, coaches and minibuses (more than 12 metres overall length)||30||50||60||60|
|Goods vehicles (not more than 7.5 tonnes maximum unladen weight)||30||50||60||7060 if articulated or towing a trailer|
|Goods vehicles (not more than 7.5 tonnes maximum unladen weight) in England and Wales||30||50||60||60|
|Goods vehicles (not more than 7.5 tonnes maximum unladen weight) in Scotland||30||40||50||60|
It is also worth noting that while the above list is correct for the vast majority of the nation’s roads, some local councils can set their own speed limits in certain areas, for example 20mph in a built-up area near a school and 50mph rather than 60mph if the stretch of road has a number of sharp bends.
How do the authorities know if you’ve been speeding?
There are a number of ways you can be caught for speeding, with the most common being known as the “Mr Gatso” speed camera. Speed cameras are a common sight on UK roads, and are easy to spot owing to their legal requirement to be painted bright yellow. But did you know that there are a variety of cameras on the roads? What are these cameras, and how do they catch you?
Let’s start with the most familiar name on the roads. The Gatso camera first appeared on British roads in 1991 and is a rear-facing camera – i.e. it records your speeding vehicle after it has passed the camera. The camera takes two photos of you in quick succession, using painted lines on the road to prove the speed at which you were going past the machine. Even if there are dashes on both sides of the road next to the camera, it will only record your speed in the direction it is facing. Gatso cameras are also often fitted with a dummy unit, warning drivers by continuing to flash at those driving over the limit.
Mobile Speed Camera Units
The police can often be seen monitoring accident or speeding hotspots in lay-bys or above dual-carriageway and motorway bridges. These mobile units are fitted with miniature Gatso cameras through the rear window and have a range of up to one mile, so slamming on the brakes as you approach them may be too late to avoid a ticking off. Police can also use handheld radar and laser controlled devices in other locations, which can be used in a variety of locations and even installed in a moving police car.
Much like Gatso, the Truvelo is a fixed position camera, but can face in either direction. Four pairs of sensors in the road will calculate the speed of traffic, and further along the road are three lines. If the sensors pick up a car going above the speed limit, it will be photographed as it crosses the middle line.
Most often found on motorways, a SPECS camera is used to monitor your speed through average speed checks. A minimum of two cameras will be installed along a stretch of road, and uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to record passing cars and work out the average speeds. The first camera will take an infrared snap of your car, plus the time recorded, before the second camera takes a pair of photos – another infrared and one in colour. A computer will then analyse the photos and obtain the registration details, while a second computer works out the speed based on the timecodes of both infrared photos. Often drivers believe they can avoid average speed checks by switching lanes between cameras, but this can be risky as they can be set to overlap, meaning you can never be fully sure which cameras have snapped you and which haven’t.
HADECS 3, or Highways Agency Digital Enforcement Camera System 3 to give it its full no-nonsense title, are mostly found on smart motorways, found bolted on to the size of the gantries that hold the variable speed limit signs. HADECS 3 can often be missed due to the fact they are a fraction of the size of a Gatso or Truvelo camera. You will often notice two units make up a HADECS 3 system, with the camera unit also being backed up by the additional ‘external aspect verification’ (EAV) which captures the speed limits displayed on road signs through four smaller individual camera units, which automatically adjusts the HADECS 3 system, meaning it is always up-to-date as to what is the current limit on the road. Although they are tucked away at the side of the road, they can cover up to five lanes of traffic, so there is no hiding from average speed checks.
How many points do you get for speeding?
The number of points you’ll receive for speeding depends on the level of your indiscretion, but you can expect to find three points on your licence as a minimum if caught. This, however, can be raised up to six points and can even result in a driving disqualification if your speed was particularly dangerous. A full breakdown of speeding can be found in the table below.
|Speed limit (mph)||Recorded speed (mph)|
|Band C||Band B||Band A|
|20||41 and above||31 – 40||21 – 30|
|30||51 and above||41 – 50||31 – 40|
|40||66 and above||56 – 65||41 – 55|
|50||76 and above||66 – 75||51 – 65|
|60||91 and above||81 – 90||61 – 80|
|70||101 and above||91 – 100||71 – 90|
|Points/disqualification||Disqualify 7 to 56 days or 6 points||Disqualify 7 to 28 days or 4 to 6 points||3 points|
How long do speeding points last on your licence?
The standard time for speeding points to remain on your licence is four years, however if your offence was particularly bad this can last for up to 11 years. While your points may come off your licence after four years, driving offences are not rehabilitated for five years, meaning most insurers will still require you to tell them about any penalties up to five years after the date of conviction.
How to check speeding points
Checking your penalty points is quite simple, and all it requires is for you to have your driving licence and National Insurance number to hand. Once you have both of these, simply head to the gov.uk website and input your licence number, National Insurance number and the postcode shown on the licence. From there you can view your driving licence information, which includes your driving record (including which vehicles you can drive) and any penalty points or disqualifications listed on your licence.
Do you always get points for speeding?
If you are caught speeding, the vast majority will be classed as a ‘minor offence’ and receive the Fixed Penalty Notice of a £100 fine and three points on your licence. However, you could be offered the option of taking a speed awareness course instead of receiving the points and fine. This is at the discretion of the police force issuing the penalty and depends on the severity of your speeding offence. You will only qualify if you were caught driving over 10% plus 2mph of the limit, but below 10% plus 9mph – if this was a 30mph zone this is anything between 35 and 42mph, while a motorway will be between 79 and 86mph. You will also have to have admitted you were the driver and returned documents within 28 days, with the incident being less than 12 weeks ago Additionally, if you have attended a speed awareness course in the past three years, you will not be eligible to attend another. A further charge to speeding could be ‘driving without due care and attention‘, this is handed out if your driving is deemed to have put others in danger.
Do you get points for speeding abroad?
Getting caught speeding when on holiday can be a minefield when it comes to working out the penalty as each country has its own rules and regulations surrounding driving penalties. One thing that is a constant, however, is that there can be no transfer of penalty points to UK licences for offences committed abroad, which was confirmed by the Department of Transport. Likewise the UK has no legal authority to endorse any licences other than a UK, so you will not receive any points for speeding if you’re abroad. You will, however, have to pay any fines and these could be significantly more than that in the UK as it would be the same amount you would receive in the original country.
How many points is 10mph over the speed limit?
Being caught 10mph over the limit, in the majority of cases, will land you 3 points on your licence, no matter which road you are driving on. However, it’s worth noting that being just 1mph further over the limit in a 20 or 30 zone would see your penalty fit into Band B and could result in up to 6 points or even a driving ban.
What is a speed awareness course?
Speed awareness courses are a group of sessions put on for people who have been caught speeding and act as an alternative to receiving points on your licence. The main basis of these are an intensive, theoretical driving lesson with the emphasis put on the dangers of speeding or dangers drivers. More often than not they’re offered to first-time offenders or those who have committed lesser offences. There is no test at the end, and it’s not a lecture where you are reprimanded and forced to watch countless road safety videos. Instead they are intended to encourage safer driving and reaffirm the dangers you could face every time you’re on the road.
Should you choose points or a speed awareness course?
It is not compulsory to accept a speed awareness course, but if you are given the option it is a fairly simple decision – simply put not having points on your licence is going to cause you much fewer headaches than if they were there. Points on your licence will remain on your record for at least four years, and can have a negative affect on your insurance premium.
Do speeding points affect insurance?
The likelihood of speeding points increasing your insurance premium are incredibly high – insurers base all of their prices on statistics, and drivers with points on their licence are naturally going to come in as a higher risk, resulting in higher premiums as a result. On average, if you are caught speeding on the motorway – where over half of all drivers exceed the limit – you could be adding an extra £100 on to your annual insurance bill.
Can someone else take my speeding points?
You may think that asking someone else to take your penalty points may be helpful in the immediate future – if you’ve got 9 points on your licence and they’ve got a clear record, what’s the problem? Well, the problem is you are technically committing a crime in doing so by perverting the court of justice. Former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne famously received 8 months behind bars – as did his ex-wife Vicky Pryce – when they claimed that Pryce was behind the wheel, attempting to avoid the points going to Huhne’s licence. The maximum penalty for this is life imprisonment, though the average is closer to 10 months.
Do you get fined for speeding points?
Most speeding offences come with a flat £100 fine along with the three points on your licence, but if your offence is particularly severe you could see that fine growing significantly. The amount you can be fined depends on how much you were over the limit, but the figure is often around 150% of your weekly income, up to a maximum of £1,000 – or £2,500 if you were on the motorway.
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