Speed Limits in the UK – Know the Law

van fleet insurance, courier insurance, motor trade insurance

Quieter roads may be a boon to courier drivers, van fleets and those in the haulage industry but it is also leading to a rise in vehicles speeding. According to research carried out by the RAC, 40 percent of UK adults say they have seen more drivers speeding than they did before the Government introduced the coronavirus lockdown.

RAC’s survey of 2,020 people revealed that roads with 30mph limits have been the most abused, with 23 percent saying they had seen drivers very obviously breaking the law by speeding, with 15 percent also saying they had seen drivers breaking both 20mph and 40mph limits. The Metropolitan Police has confirmed what has been reported, with one driver going 134mph in a 40mph zone.

With clear, open roads, going above the speed limit may be more tempting for time-pressured couriers and hauliers, but getting a fine can be risky for your licence with points, hefty fines and even the possibility of a driving disqualification. The best way to avoid this is by sticking to the speed limit, but if you do inadvertently get a fine, here is what you can expect to pay and how this might affect both your licence and your van fleet insurance or courier insurance.

 Speeding Fines and Severity

Whilst hundreds of thousands of people may be issued with fines annually for speeding, there are different degrees of severity and financial cost implications. Most people are issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) that carries a £100 fine and three points on your driving licence.  This can sometimes be avoided by opting to pay for a speed awareness course if available (this is generally offered if the speed limit excess was low and you haven’t had any other speeding offences during the past three years).

If your crime is considered more severe than this, you could be looking at a court case with significant fees and disqualification of your licence. This tends to be for repeat speeding offenders or for drivers who have severely exceeded the speed limit.

If you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) from the police, you can respond guilty and accept your fine and points and avoid court. Or plead not guilty and attend court where you can respond to your case. If it’s a first offence, you may get offered a speed awareness course instead of points and a fine, but you could also receive a higher fine and greater number of points on your licence if found guilty.

How Much is a Speeding Fine?

The law states different punishments depending on how much you have exceeded the speed limit. There are three main bands that are used: Band A fines are for more minor speed limit excesses and B and C for increasing amounts. The fines and points increase considerably for each band.

Band A:  for minor speed limit excesses, for which you could get 3 points on your licence and fined 50 percent of relevant weekly income

Band B: is more serious and you could receive 4 to 6 points on your licence or 7-28 days disqualification and fined 100 percent of relevant weekly income.

Band C: for more extreme cases in which you could receive 6 points on your licence or 7-56 days disqualification and fined 150 percent of relevant weekly income.

A magistrate can fine you anywhere within a range of 25 percent on either side of that Band figure, but the maximum fine is £1,000, rising to £2,500 if you were driving on a motorway.

In very extreme cases, a disqualification could be as long as 120 days, and you'll need to reapply for your licence once the ban is up. If you get 12 points or more over a period of three years, you could also be disqualified from driving. You may need to resit your driving test, or even take an extended driving course. There may be some leniency if losing your licence would cost you your job or it was an emergency, but this cannot be relied upon.

Will a Speeding Fine Increase Insurance?

Yes, getting points for speeding will mean a higher premium for your motor trade insurance. Several fines for individual drivers in a fleet could have a significant impact on the annual insurance renewal.

The amount of insurance increment will depend on how many fines a van fleet has accrued over the year, where you live or your company is based, the age of the driver and the type of vehicles driven. It’s worth noting that if a fined driver were to take a speed awareness course, the premium will not increase.

If you do get points from a speeding fine, installing telematics to monitor future driving can help to lower your premium when your motor trade insurance is up for renewal. But, of course, the best advice is to keep an eye on speed restriction signs to prevent you getting caught out by the cameras.

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