What are the UK Speeding Regulations - Update 2023
If you've ever felt the need for speed, then you should probably stay away from your car for a bit. That's because the UK has some pretty strict speeding regulations, from speed limits as low as 20 mph to average check speed cameras. They're in place for a reason, of course. The UK is ranked the seventh-safest country to drive in the world, and it's largely thanks to smart road rules that include speed limits. With that in mind, we've put this guide together, updating you on the UK speeding regulations in 2023.
The 10% Rule
Although it's commonly believed that you must drive at least 10% over the speed limit to receive a fine, this is false. Legally, exceeding the speed limit by any amount can result in a fine. Although it's worth noting that in practice, police officers have discretion to allow a leeway of 10% plus two miles per hour, as advised by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC). So if you're driving slightly over the speed limit, you may not be fined. But there's no guarantee. And not all forces across the country do apply the discretion!
They Call Me Mellow Yellow
Most fixed-speed cameras are painted yellow, but they're not legally required to be this colour. Mobile speed cameras, however, are often colours other than yellow and can be harder to spot. Ultimately, the camera's colour does not affect its legality or ability to issue fines. Regardless of the colour or visibility, if you are caught speeding, you can't use the excuse of not seeing the camera to avoid paying the fine.
Are All Speed Cameras Switched On?
Not all speed cameras in the UK are fully operational, and some are even switched off. The Freedom of Information requests revealed the info, showing some speed cameras are just entirely switched off. Don't think you can drive around hitting top speeds, though. While some are turned off, it's impossible to tell. Therefore, you should always adhere to the speed limit and drive safely, mainly because it's the right thing to do.
If They Don't Flash, They Don't Count … Right?
A flashing camera won't always indicate that a speed camera has caught you. Some are equipped with advanced technology that allows them to capture images in low light conditions without a flash, while others may have a flash that isn't visible to the driver. In the case of average-speed cameras, it's unlikely that they will flash at all, even if you have been caught exceeding the speed limit. So yeah, no flash doesn't mean you won't get a fine.
Average Speed Cameras and Lane Changing
If it were just that easy as changing lanes to avoid the average speed camera check on that long motorway drive... Alas, it's not, and changing lanes won't help you avoid getting caught by a modern average-speed camera system. These systems use multiple cameras to monitor all lanes of traffic, and they use advanced automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to track individual vehicles. It's virtually impossible to "fool" these systems by changing lanes. So, if you're driving over the speed limit, moving from left to right won't cut it and stop you from getting caught by an average-speed camera.
But do They Even Work?
Contrary to what some people may believe, average-speed cameras are effective and widely used. These cameras are known for their accuracy and reliability in enforcing speed limits, and they are frequently used on roads and motorways across the UK. In fact, the effectiveness of average speed cameras is such that it's generally not advisable to exceed the speed limit when driving through an area where these cameras are in use, as you are likely to receive a fine.
Are All Speeding Fines Valid?
Yes, but only if they're submitted in time. A driver caught by a speed camera must receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) within a specific time frame for the penalty to be valid. The NIP is sent to your registered address within 14 days of the offence. Failure to comply with this time frame can result in the penalty being invalidated.
Are Speed Awareness Courses Optional?
You wish, buddy. Drivers caught going over the speed limit may be offered a speed awareness course instead of points if it's your first offence, but you can't just go around asking for a course. Whether or not you're offered the course depends on the policies of the relevant authorities and the specific circumstances of your offence, and if it's your first offence or first offence for some time.
40 Mph in a 30 Mph Zone
Speeding rules are in place to ensure our roads are safer. While the desire to go full throttle might live inside you like a Fast and Furious movie featuring everyone's favourite Vin, the reality is that there are just too many safety hazards to drive like a racer on the roads in the UK. Knowing the speed regulations, you can ensure you adhere to the road rules and avoid fines and penalties. And more and more urban areas are now only 20mph - so keep an eye on the signs! 👀