Speeding laws exist for a purpose—breaking the speed limit contributes to more than 727 deaths and 4,555 injuries every year. It was a factor in a quarter of fatal road accidents in 2007.
As has been depicted in a series of television adverts, a child has an 80 percent likelihood of being killed if hit at 40 mph but an 80 per cent of surviving if hit at 30 mph.
The Highways Agency sets the speed limits.
The speed limit for all vehicles in built-up areas (street lit) is 30 mph. On single carriageways, the limit is 60 mph for cars and motorcycles, 50 mph for cars towing caravans or trailers, buses and coaches and goods vehicles less than 7.5 tonnes in weight, and 40 mph for goods vehicles above 7.5 tonnes in weight.
On dual carriageways, the limit is 70 mph for cars and motorcycles, 60 mph for cars towing caravans and trailers, buses and coaches and goods vehicles less than 7.5 tonnes in weight, and 50 mph for goods vehicles above 7.5 tonnes in weight.
On motorways, the limit is 70 mph for cars and motorcycles, 60 mph for cars towing caravans and trailers, 70 mph for buses and coaches and goods vehicles less than 7.5 tonnes in weight, and 60 mph for goods vehicles above 7.5 tonnes in weight.
Road signs will indicate where the limit has been reduced, for example, because of road repairs, dangerous driving conditions or an accident.
Motorists who speed while driving on a motorway face a maximum fine of £2,500 and 3-6 points on their licence if caught. Those who commit any speeding offence dealt with by fixed penalty notice or conditional offer notice face a £60 fine and three points on their licence. The average speeding fine imposed by a court is about £128 and 3-6 points on your licence.
Generally speaking, doing more than 30 mph over limit, or more than 100 mph on a motorway, is likely to result in disqualification.
Evidence brought in court may include photographs from speed cameras, or a police radar gun.
Under ‘totting up’ rules, drivers will be disqualified for a minimum period of six months where they accumulate 12 penalty points within a three year period. Your licence is wiped clean once the disqualification period ends. You may be able to avoid disqualification if you can prove to the court that this would cause you ‘exceptional hardship’, for example, the loss of your job or hardship to members of your family.
However, disqualification, fines or penalty points are not the only consequence of being caught speeding. The other drawback is that your insurance costs will increase.
Defences to speeding laws include that you were not speeding, that it was not you who were driving, or that you were driving an exempted vehicle in an emergency, such as an ambulance. You can ask for copies of the evidence.
You could also make sure all the details on the speeding ticket are correct, including the vehicle details and date, time and location. You could also return to the place where it happened and check speed limit signs are correct and easily seen—if they are not then you could have a valid defence to your speeding charge.
LexisNexis LawyerLocator complies with the Solicitors Regulation Authority's Code of Conduct 2011 regarding referrals published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and any solicitor to whom we refer you is an independent professional, from whom you will receive impartial and confidential advice. You are free to choose another Solicitor. In the event that you instruct a solicitor, LexisNexis LawyerLocator will be paid a referral fee of up to £40 per solicitor, per accepted enquiry, but this will not be added to your bill.