Have you recently been caught by a speed camera? Read this easy-to-understand guide on what to expect, what to do and when to do it.
It happens to everybody eventually. You’re driving along, minding your own business. You’re not really aware of how fast you’re travelling. All of a sudden there’s a flash in your rear view mirror and you realise that you’ve been caught by a speed camera.
Timing: When do you receive a speed camera fine?
One of your first concerns after triggering the dreaded speed camera flash is probably the cost of any fine.
Don’t worry about that for now. Firstly, the police have 14 days in which to serve the registered keeper of the vehicle with a ‘notice of intended prosecution’ (NIP). This sets out the details of the alleged offence.
Study the NIP closely. Make sure you abide by any conditions and timescales given. If the police haven’t sent you an NIP within 14 days, you have escaped prosecution!
Caught by a speed camera: Offences and monetary fines
For most offences captured by a speed camera, you’ll receive a minimum penalty of £100 and three points on your licence.
However, new laws came into effect in April 2017 that have made things a lot more complicated. Fines are now graded according to both the level of speeding and your weekly salary.
Speeding penalties are now classified into three bands:
- Band A for minor excesses (for example, up to 40mph in a 30mph zone)
- Band B for moderate excesses (for example, up to 50mph in a 30mph zone)
- Band C for major excesses (for example, more than 50mph in a 30mph zone)
Instead of fixed penalties based on your speed, the new system also takes your earnings into account, using the followoing formula:
- Band A: 50% of your weekly salary, plus 3 penalty points
- Band B: 100% of your weekly salary, plus 4-6 penalty points or disqualification for up to 28 days
- Band C: 150% of your weekly salary, plus 6 penalty points or disqualification for up to 56 days
There is also some flexibility (plus or minus 25%) in the fine, based on other circumstances. Speeding around a school or busy pedestrian area will probably get your fine bumped up, whereas a similar speed on a deserted road in the middle of nowhere may get you a bit of leniency.
Caught by a speed camera: Penalty points
In addition to the cash penalty, you will normally receive between three and six penalty points, depending on the offence (see above).
Anything above six penalty points will almost certainly be heard in court, due to the severity of the offence.
Penalty points are valid on your licence for three years from the date of the offence, or if your case is heard in court, from the date of your conviction.
However, you may only apply for the endorsement to be removed from your licence completely after four years.
Most insurers don’t penalise for three penalty points. However, if you receive further endorsements within three years, you’re likely to see a significant rise in your car insurance premium.
Speed awareness courses
Most police forces offer speed awareness courses, although usually only if you have a clean licence. If you do get to go on a speed awareness course, you’ll avoid having your licence endorsed but you’ll have to pay to attend the course.
If you haven’t been offered a speed awareness course, it is worth asking the issuing force to consider this as an alternative. They are not obliged to accept your request, however.
If you have previous endorsements, you will not be offered a speed awareness course.
Appealing a speed camera penalty
You have the right to appeal a fixed penalty notice within 28 days of issue.
Your case will be referred to court where, for less serious offences, a magistrate will consider your appeal.
Unless you have good grounds for appeal, think carefully before taking this route. If your appeal is unsuccessful, the fine is likely to be higher than the original penalty.
More serious speeding offences
Committed a serious speeding offence, such as high-speed motorway driving? The police force has six months from the date of the incident in which to lodge papers at court.
The pursuing police force will brief you of the process in writing. Before entering into any communications, you should find a solicitor and take legal advice.
There is no set formula with court-heard cases, as every scenario is different. Before entering a plea of mitigating circumstances, once again it’s recommended you take legal advice.
Have you been caught by a speed camera? Or are you not sure if you have been flashed? Let us know in the comments below!
You should also read: The five worst habits of Britain’s drivers
This article was originally published in 2013, and last updated in July 2017 with the latest information about the 2017 changes to speeding fines.
Advice provided is suitable for UK residents only. If you live outside the UK, you should consult local advisory services regarding the implementation of speed camera penalties for your country.