Speeding fines and penalties in the UK – how they work and what you need to know

    Being issued a speeding ticket – either by a member of law enforcement or automatically via a speed camera – can be daunting for any motorist. 

    Not only are there worries about the cost of the fine or how being issued it will impact their driving record, if they wish to appeal the fine, it will most likely involve them attending court

    In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know about being issued a speeding fine, and what you can expect. 

     What happens if I’m caught speeding?

    There are two ways that drivers can be issued speeding fines. They will either be pulled over by a police officer and issued on the road, or they will receive one through the post after having been captured speeding by a camera. The fine can be different depending on how it was originally issued.

    What happens if I’m caught speeding by a police officer?

    When a police officer pulls over a speeding driver, there are several possible outcomes. Depending on the severity of the offence, the officer may choose from three options.

    • For minor offences, the officer may issue a verbal warning, essentially rebuking the driver for their driving and warning them about potential penalties.
    • Alternatively, they may issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) either on the spot or by sending it to the driver through the post. Upon receiving the FPN, the driver will have the choice to plead either guilty or not guilty. If pleading ‘not guilty’, they will then have to appear in court.
    • In cases where the offence is more serious, a police officer will issue the driver with a letter on the spot asking them to attend court.

    What happens if I’m caught speeding by a speed camera?

    Motorists caught driving above the limit by a speed camera can expect to receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) within 14 days, accompanied by a ‘Section 172’ notice.

    The vehicle owner is required to complete and return the Section 172 within 28 days of receiving it, confirming to the police the identity of the driver. Failure to comply with this requirement will usually result in the matter being escalated – and will typically result in the driver being issued a court date.

    How long will it take to be issued a speeding ticket?

    The time it takes to receive a speeding ticket depends on whether a driver is stopped by a police officer or snapped by a speed camera.

    However, here is an explanation of what motorists can generally expect:

    • If stopped by a police officer, drivers will be informed immediately if they are being let off with a warning, or if further action will be taken against them.
    • If snapped by a speed camera, drivers should receive notification and/or a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) or court summons by mail within 14 days. However, it is worth noting that the ‘14-day rule’ is not absolute. Whilst it is true that the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1998 states that offenders should receive notification ‘within fourteen days of the commission of the offence’ – the police only need to demonstrate the correspondence should have reached the driver within this timeframe. Mitigating factors, such as postal strikes or recent changes of address, do not excuse the penalty.

    What are the average speeding penalty charges in the UK?

    When caught speeding in the UK, drivers will face ‘penalty points’ on their driving licences, fines, or even court appearances – what they might expect is usually dependent on the severity of the offence.

    Penalties work on a sliding scale – based on the severity of the offence. They are officially determined by a system of bands – A, B, and C.

    BandOffence typeTypical penalty
    Band AMinor£100 to £200 fine, plus 3 penalty points to driver’s licence.
    Band BMedium£100 to £300 fine, with 4 to 6 penalty points to driver’s licence.
    Band CSerious£100 to £1,000 fine, or 150% of the driver’s weekly income, if deemed appropriate. B and C offences usually result in 6 penalty points or disqualification from driving for up to 56 days.

    It is worth noting that the specific circumstances of the offence, such as the location, road conditions, and presence of pedestrians or other road users, can also influence the severity of the penalty.

    When it comes to major UK cities, the average penalty charges for speeding fines can vary. In London, for example, drivers are likely to face fines within the Band C range due to stricter enforcement and higher congestion. Birmingham, Manchester, and Edinburgh also impose considerable penalties for speeding offences.

    What are the speeding charges in London?

    While speeding fines are governed by national guidelines, London boroughs have discretion to set the exact amount within the prescribed range.

    Here is a sample of average penalty charges per London borough (as of July 2023):

    London boroughAverage penalty(Variable based on speed and offence severity)
    City of London£90-£240
    Kensington and Chelsea£80-£240
    Tower Hamlets£100-£300
    It is important to note that these figures are subject to change, and the latest data available should always be verified with the local authority.

    Will I have to attend a Speed Awareness Course?

    In some cases, drivers caught exceeding the speed limit by a small margin may be given the option to attend a Speed Awareness Course instead of receiving penalty points and fines.

    These courses aim to reeducate drivers about the risks associated with speeding and provide them with strategies to prevent future violations. Completion of a Speed Awareness Course results in no penalty points or fines, although a course fee may be applicable.

    Speeding fines are an important deterrent against reckless driving and play a significant role in maintaining road safety. Understanding the average penalty charges can help drivers realise the potential financial consequences of their actions and encourage them to adhere to speed limits. 

    How do I pay a speeding fine?

    To pay a speeding fine in England and Wales, you can make the payment online through the gov.uk website. It’s simple to do, just keep your Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) handy for reference and follow the instructions.

    Scottish motorists can also pay online or choose to make the payment via phone or post. More info on how to pay in Scotland is available on the Scottish Courts and Tribunals website.

    Is it possible to dispute a speeding fine?

    Yes. Motorists can contest speeding tickets by completing the relevant sections in their Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) document. However, it is important to ascertain that they have a strong enough case for disputing the ticket. If not, the appeal will be rejected, and the driver will likely have to go to court. If a speeding fine appeal does go to court and is rejected there, the driver is likely to face a severe penalty on top of the original fine received.

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