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Frequently asked questions about speeding, penalties and fines.

Are the speed cameras calibrated?

The cameras are calibrated once a year as per the set guidelines. The cameras very rarely malfunction and if they do the faults are spotted before any notices of intended prosecution are sent out.

Can I get banned for speeding?

Yes, you can.

However, the threshold at which speed enforcement begins is at the discretion of each individual police force

Can I go on a speed awareness course instead of having points on my licence?

You can't suggest that you want to do a Speed Awareness Course, if you are eligible to attend the course you will be notified by the police. The criteria operated by each Police Force in relation to attending SACs differs slightly. The following are the guidelines operated by one police force:

  • You have admitted to being the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence and returned the documentation within the 28 day period calculated from the date the notice was sent to you.

  • No more than 12 weeks have elapsed since the date of the alleged offence.

  • There were no further offences committed at the time of the alleged offence.

    • You have not attended a speed awareness course within the 3 years prior to the current offence.

Can you tell me about the different types of speed camera most commonly used in the UK?

Gatso cameras are the most commonly used speed cameras on UK roads. They use radar technology to measure how fast a vehicle is travelling. If a vehicle is exceeding the speed limit for a given road, a camera and high powered flash take two photographs of the rear as it passes. The cameras only take rear facing photographs so the high powered flash doesn't blind drivers.

The Truvelo camera is usually forward facing (it can be rear facing) and uses four piezo sensors embedded in the road surface at set distances to measure the speed of passing vehicles.

SPECS cameras record a vehicle's average speed over a given distance. They are often used on motorways/dual carriageways or road works.

Does there have to be signs to warn motorists that there are speed cameras (both fixed and mobile)?

There is nothing in law that states that any speed camera device whether fixed or mobile must be marked in any way, signed or at a particular position. There are codes of practice and best practice guides that are set by police forces themselves but these are policies rather than law.

How can I tell what the speed limit is?

In most places the speed limit is displayed on circular signs displayed on both sides of the carriageway and if there are signs indicating speed limits these should be followed.

  • If there are no signs and it is in a built up area and there are street lights present (the street lights must be no more than 200 yard apart whether they are on the same or opposite sides of the road) the speed limit is 30mph.

  • If there are no street lights and it is not in a built up area (i.e. a country road) then the speed limit is 60mph, or 50mph if the vehicle is a goods vehicle such as a non car based van or a passenger vehicle with more than 8 passenger seats.

How long will the penalty points/endorsement stay on my licence?

It depends on the type of offence. For more serious offences the endorsement starts on the date of conviction, and for others on the date of the offence. (N.B. The codes shown in brackets below are the codes that show on your licence).

4 years from the date of conviction for dangerous driving (DD40, DD60 and DD80) or offences resulting in disqualification.

4 years from the date of offence in all other cases.

11 years from the date of conviction for:

  • Drinking/drugs & driving (DR10, DR20, DR30, DR31, DR61 and DR80)

  • Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink/drugs (CD40, CD50 and CD60)

  • Causing death by careless driving, then failing to provide a specimen for analysis (CD70)

Totting Up (TT99): if you get 12 or more points within a period of 3 years, you'll be disqualified under the totting up system but at the end of disqualification the points accrued in those three years will normally no longer count against you.

Expired endorsements will usually be removed automatically from your driving record when they are no longer valid.

From 8 June 2015, existing paper counterparts to driving licences will no longer have any legal status - drivers do not need to do anything; they just keep their current photocard driving licence. Note that the DVLA are not abolishing paper driving licences issued before they introduced the photocard in 1998, and any driver who holds this type of licence should keep it and not destroy it. However, from 8 June 2015, whilst the licence (whether photocard or paper) will remain the official document that shows what vehicles a person can drive, the driver record held by DVLA will be the only legal record of the penalty points a driver has. Therefore, from 8 June 2015, paper driving licences will no longer be marked with endorsements - drivers can use the link below to find out how many points they have on their licence or when they'll be removed:


If endorsements are incorrectly shown on your driving licence you'll need to contact the court that convicted you.

How many points can I have on my licence before I face a ban?

Twelve penalty points on your licence within 3 years will mean that you face disqualification under the 'totting up' procedure.

If you have 9 or more penalty points on your licence then you cannot accept any further fixed penalty tickets and must go to court.

I have a problem with the traffic calming arrangements in my street/I would like to have traffic calming installed in my street. Who should I contact?

You should contact your local council who will be able to advise you on the traffic calming measures that are in place, or the process for getting traffic calming introduced in your area.

I have got a speeding ticket and I want to see the photographic evidence, can I?

Most forces will not release photographic evidence unless the ticket is challenged (plead not guilty). You should then be sent the evidence, which will usually include the photographic evidence and/or a statement.

Any person accused of a criminal offence has the right to defend themselves and in order to do this, evidence of the breach of law must be provided to them. There is no requirement as to exactly what that evidence must be, only that it is evidence of the breach of the law and that you will be able to have a fair hearing.

You will not then be able to pay the ticket; you will have to attend court.

I have got a speeding ticket but I have misplaced my licence, what should I do?

You should attend at your chosen police station with the ticket and the rest of your documents (insurance and MOT) in order to comply with the ticket. The person who takes the details will then note that you have not produced your licence and you are likely to be reported. The speeding ticket and the failure to produce your licence will both be dealt with at court and a summons will be issued to you in due course. You do not always have to attend court and may be able to plead guilty by letter. The summons you receive will tell you whether this is possible.

It is advisable if you have not already done so to apply for a new licence as soon as possible (see related information). If the licence comes shortly afterwards then it may be worth contacting the central ticket office of your local police force to see if they will allow you to pay the speeding fine without the possibility of attending court. This is discretionary as after 28 days a summons will be issued.

I have got a speeding ticket/summons, but I wasn't driving, what should I do?

If it is a speed camera that has flashed you, you will receive a notice of intended prosecution/conditional offer, on the back of it there will be several options.

There is a section, which states that if you were not the driver then you must provide details of the driver. Failure to provide these details could result in a fine.

There is a statutory duty on all keepers of motor vehicles to be able to provide details of who has been driving the vehicle and keeping records is obviously the easiest way of doing this.

I have seen some spray that can cover my registration number, is it legal?

No, it is not legal.

Any interference with the number plate to make it less easily distinguishable to the eye or would impair the making of a true photographic image is illegal. Although the spray does interfere with flash photography many of the speed cameras use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology that uses infrared, thereby making the spray ineffective.

You could be liable for a substantial fine if you are found guilty of using such a spray.

I stole a car when I was 15 and received penalty points as part of my punishment. What effect will this have when I am old enough to start driving?

Depending on the offence, penalty points and disqualifications are valid for either 3 or 10 years but they remain on your licence for an additional year. The extra year is added so that if you commit another motoring offence that might have to go to court, the extra year allows any previous penalty points and disqualifications (that were valid at the time of the offence) to be taken into account by the court.

Therefore, the relevant periods are:

  • 11 years from the date of conviction for offences relating to driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, or causing death by careless driving and failing to provide a specimen to be tested.

  • 4 years from the date of conviction for dangerous driving and offences resulting in disqualification.

  • 4 years from the date of the offence in all other cases.

Therefore, should you apply for a licence at the age of 17, any points you received as a 15 year old will be shown on you licence. Then, if you acquire further points on your licence so that the number reaches 6 or more within 2 years of passing your test your licence will be revoked and if it numbers 12 with a 3 year period, you will be disqualified.

Is it illegal to drive a car with a broken speedometer?

A vehicle's speedometer shall at all times it is used on a road be maintained in good working order. The only exceptions to this are when:

  • the speedometer became defective during the journey being undertaken, or

  • steps have been taken to have the defect remedied by replacement or repair as soon as possible.

I've heard that if I don't exceed the speed limit by a certain amount I won't be prosecuted- is this correct?

Guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) suggests when enforcement action will be taken against speeding motorists – this is usually when the relevant speed limit is exceeded by 10% plus 2 mph. However, this is for guidance purposes only, a police officer has the discretion to act outside it. Some drivers wrongly interpret it to mean that they can legally exceed the speed limit – this is most definitely not the case.

We have got a speeding ticket for our car but we cannot remember who was driving?

It is the responsibility of the last known registered keeper of the vehicle to provide details of who was driving at the time of the alleged offence. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

If you do not know who was driving then you should contact the Central Ticket Office of the force concerned who will advise you what action to take as policy may vary from force to force. Photographic evidence (if available) may resolve the issue.

If it is a company vehicle and no driver can be identified then it may be the company secretary/director who is prosecuted for failure to furnish driver details. A company may argue that they don't keep records of who drives their vehicles so the required information cannot be supplied. However, any such argument will fail at court unless the company can prove not only that it doesn't keep records but also that failing to keep records is reasonable in the circumstances.

What are the rules for towing caravans / trailers with cars?

A motor vehicle can pull a caravan as long as there are no passengers in the caravan (pets are allowed but it is not advisable).

It is also important to stick to the required speed limits, which can vary for caravans.

  • 60mph - motorways and dual carriageways

  • 50mph - single carriageways

  • 30mph - built up areas.

On the motorway a car towing a caravan cannot go in the outside lane (where there are 3 lanes).

It is not advisable that the maximum authorised mass of the caravan is more than the unladen weight of the car, for example a Fiat Cinquecento pulling a caravan. This could put the driver of the car and other road users in danger.

The category normally required on your driving licence to tow a caravan is category B+E. You must be a full licence holder, not a provisional licence holder. However if the caravan you are towing weighs less than 750kg or the maximum authorised mass of both the towing car and caravan weigh less than 3500kg you could tow a caravan with category B on your licence. There is a further requirement that the maximum authorised mass of the caravan must not exceed the unladen weight of the towing car.

On the motorway a car towing a caravan cannot go in the outside lane (where there are 3 lanes).

What could happen if I get points on my licence as a provisional or newly qualified driver?

If you acquire 6 or more penalty points within 2 years of passing your first driving test you will automatically have your licence revoked. To get it back you must apply and pay for a new provisional licence, drive as a learner (supervision, 'L' plates etc.) and pass both theory (including hazard perception) and practical tests again.

You can acquire penalty points on your provisional licence before you pass your test (penalty points last for 3 years). But if you then receive more points after passing your test, taking the total to 6 or more, your licence will be revoked. Having your licence revoked when you have acquired 6 or more penalty points does not 'wipe the slate clean', any live penalty points will still be shown on your licence when you get it back.

Revocation only applies where the offence that causes the points to number 6 or more is committed during the probationary period (2 years after passing your test). This means that if you obtain 6 points or more points before you have taken your test you can still pass your test and obtain your licence, but if you obtain any more points within 2 years of passing your test, your licence will be revoked.

Note that if the points on your licence number 12 or more within a three year period, you will be liable to be disqualified under the totting up provisions – usually for at least 6 months.

What is a notice of intended prosecution?

The purpose of a the notice of intended prosecution (NIP) is to inform a potential defendant that they may be prosecuted for an offence they have committed, whilst the incident is still fresh in their memory.

When you receive an NIP it does not automatically mean that you are going to face prosecution, it is a warning that you may face prosecution.

The NIP must be served on the driver or registered keeper within 14 days of the offence otherwise the offence cannot proceed at court. If the details of the driver are not known, then it is sent to the registered keeper. In either case, so long as it arrives at the relevant address within the time limit the notice is valid.

If the registered keeper has changed address/not informed DVLA etc., as long as the NIP arrived at the address on record for the registered keeper within 14 days, it is still valid. The registered keeper then has an obligation to identify the driver.

The driver, may then receive further paperwork in due course, but that is not to be confused with the document that is legally required to be sent within the 14 days.

NIPs can also be issued verbally to the driver at the time of the offence or alternatively you could receive a court summons through the post for the alleged offence within the 14 days.

Small mistakes on the notice do not render it ineffective unless it would mislead the potential defendant.

A notice shall be deemed to have been served on a person if it was posted to them at their last known address, notwithstanding that the notice was returned as undelivered or was for any other reason not received by them. The posted NIP is deemed to be served until the contrary is shown.

What is the national speed limit?

The national speed limit varies depending on the

Related topics...

Central ticket office

Road Safety

Speed Awareness Course

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