UK Speed Restrictions and Fines

Speed Restrictions and Fines

Police forces across the UK have recently warned of a crackdown on speeding motorists, with greater enforcement of speeding fines and lower tolerance for irresponsible and dangerous drivers.

As it stands, the last time that speeding fines were increased in the UK was the spring of 2017. But new speeding fines are understood to be on the horizon as a result of campaigners’ efforts and the resultant shift in government policy.

Law abiding citizens with a clean licence may still be able to avoid receiving points on their licence by attending a speed awareness course. Previous speeders will not be extended such opportunities, and they will see their points total climb further towards a ban.

UK national generic limits



Exceeding the speed limit is illegal. If you’re caught by a speed camera or police officer, any of the following could happen:

  • You may be given a verbal warning. This may happen if an officer stops you on the road.
  • You may be asked to attend a speed-awareness course, which you will be expected to pay for. This may not be an option on repeat offences.
  • You may be prosecuted. If you are prosecuted, your fine and punishment will depend on how fast you were driving.

2019 UK speeding fine bands

The ceilings for speeding fines were previously £1000, or £2500 if caught on a motorway. The higher motorway cap remains, however law enforcement have been instructed to hand out a greater number of the maximum-level fines. Details of the three main speeding bands are displayed in the table below:

For example, if you are driving on a 30 mph road and your speed is measured at 54 mph, you will fall into Band C and accordingly will face Band C punishments of six penalty points or seven to 56 days disqualification from driving in addition to a potential fine of 125-175% of your weekly income. £1000 is the maximum fine for most roads, with £2500 being the maximum fine for motorways.

Alongside these three main bands, three higher bands also exist:

  • Band D – you will be fined between 200% and 300% of your weekly income.
  • Band E – you will be fined between 300% and 500% of your weekly income.
  • Band F – you will be fined between 500% and 700% of your weekly income.

Factors that can push you into bands D, E or F include prior convictions, offences committed while on bail, poor road and weather conditions, driving a large vehicle, towing a caravan or trailer, carrying passengers or a heavy load, driving for hire, evidence of unacceptable driving over the speed limit, location and if there was a high level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity.

Speeding fines are calculated against the band system detailed above and adjusted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or a judge if necessary.


Speeding motorists in the UK are caught one of two ways: by a police officer or by a speed camera.

If caught by a police officer, the officer will explain to you why you have been stopped (usually informing you of the speed you were measured at and confirming the speed limit on the road at issue) and then they will explain how they are going to respond to the incident.

For minor speeding offences, the officer may give you a verbal warning, but for more serious offences they can either issue a fixed penalty notice (an ‘on-the-spot’ fine or one sent to your address) or they will order you to go to court (with the letter explaining the process sent to your address).

If you receive a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), you can either pay the fine and accept the penalty points, or contest the fine in court. To uphold the fine, a court only needs to prove you were speeding. Saying that you did not intend to speed, didn’t realise you were speeding or you only exceeded the limit briefly won’t hold water. If you’re prosecuted for speeding, if you have eight or more points on your licence, or you were driving way above the speed limit, the police may choose to prosecute you in court. In this eventuality, you will be sent a court summons. The police has up to six months to issue it.

If caught by a police officer, you may have to wait for the paperwork to arrive in the post. It usually takes around fourteen days (two weeks) for the Notice of Intended Prosecution to arrive. Once you receive your Notice, you have 28 days to respond. In some circumstances, you may be able to pay a lower fine if you respond quicker to the Notice.

If caught by a speed camera, the process is slightly longer. Within fourteen days, you will be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution, which is a letter sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle setting out that the vehicle was detected speeding and that the driver of the vehicle needs to be identified.

If the driver was you, you can respond directly to the letter with how you would like to proceed (pleading guilty or not guilty to the speeding offence) and, if applicable, agreeing to attend a driver education course or to pay a speeding fine.

If someone else was the driver, you must fill out the Section 172 paperwork (included with the Notice of Intended Prosecution) with details of that driver and a new Notice will accordingly be issued to them. If the driver was someone else, it is important that you do not hand your Notice over to them; they must fill out the Notice that is sent to them directly otherwise you will be processed as the driver and not them.

If you disagree with your speeding charge, you can contest it. A fine is unlikely to be overturned unless you can prove one of the following:

  • You were not speeding.
  • You weren’t driving when the offence took place.
  • There was no proper notice of the speed limit.
  • The vehicle caught speeding wasn’t yours.
  • Your car was stolen.

If you’ve been caught speeding, you’ll see a new code on your driving licence:

SP10 – Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits
SP20 – Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)
SP30 – Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road
SP40 – Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit
SP50 – Exceeding speed limit on a motorway


When you get caught and convicted of speeding, you’ll receive points on your licence. These speeding points will stay on your driving licence for 4 or 11 years, depending on the offence. If you build up 12 or more penalty points on your driving licence within 3 years, you’ll be disqualified from driving.

When you receive points on your driving licence, they are kept on your driver record. You can check online with to do a driving licence point check and find out whether you have any points on your licence currently.

There are a number factors that can increase or decrease the severity of your sentence should you end up in court facing a judge. The factors listed below could work in your favour or land you with more points or a longer period of disqualification.

Factors reducing seriousness or reflecting personal mitigation

  • Genuine emergency established
  • No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
  • Good character and/or exemplary conduct

Factors increasing seriousness

  • Previous convictions, having regard to a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction
  • Offence committed whilst on bail
  • Towing caravan/trailer
  • Carrying passengers or heavy load
  • Driving for hire or reward
  • Poor road or weather conditions
  • Driving LGV, HGV, PSV etc.
  • Offence committed on licence or post sentence supervision
  • Evidence of unacceptable standard of driving over and above speed
  • Location e.g. near school
  • High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity


Remember, speeding limits are there for a reason but they’re not a target.

Driving at excessive and inappropriate speeds can cost dearly:

  • drivers who clock up six penalty points on their licence – which can now happen with one speeding offence – could see their insurance premium rise by a staggering 76%.
  • speeding is also the number one killer on uk roads.
  • people who drive for work risk losing their job if they are disqualified from driving.

For fleet managers, it is vital to carry out regular licence checks to verify that employees can legally drive.  Contact our fleet experts to find out how your business can benefit from our comprehensive Driver Risk Management services.