Have you recently been caught out by a speed camera? This article provides an 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 and 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 busted by a speed camera.
The UK is filled with speed cameras these days as a substitute for actual policing; both the traditional yellow Gatso devices and now average speed cameras that monitor your speed over a distance of several miles – usually but not always found on major roadworks sites.
What many drivers don’t realise is that there is a formal process that the police must follow when you are flashed by a speed camera. This process is both to maintain your rights and to minimise errors by the police in making a valid prosecution if you have been speeding.
- Timing of when you receive a fine
- How much will your fine be?
- Penalty points
- Speed awareness courses
- Appealing a speed camera penalty
- More serious speed camera offences
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), which sets out the details of the alleged offence.
Study the NIP closely and make sure you abide by any conditions and timescales given. If the police haven’t sent you a NIP within 14 days, you have escaped prosecution!
Cost: How much will your fine be?
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 following 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.
Points: Speed camera offences and 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.