Eight Myths About Speeding in the UK

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Eight Myths About Speeding in the UK

Speeding is one of the more common motoring offences committed in the UK, partly due to the fact it can be easy to do by accident. A number of misconceptions have arisen among drivers that can lead to accidental or unexpected prosecution. In the following guide, our motoring specialists examine and debunk the most common and potentially damaging myths associated with speeding, aiming to provide a fresh perspective on the importance of always abiding by speed limits for everyone’s safety.

1: You Cannot Be Fined if a Speed Camera Was Not Signposted

One widely held belief is that a driver cannot be fined for speeding if a speed camera was not signposted, or if the signpost was obscured. However, this is not the case. While it is true that some speed cameras are accompanied by warning signs, there is no requirement for signage to be present. Speed limit signs are in place to inform drivers of the maximum permissible speed, and sticking to these limits is expected regardless of camera signposting. In some cases, local councils may place speed camera signs to dissuade drivers from driving fast through areas that might be especially dangerous, rather than waiting for them to learn their lesson after they are caught.

The prevalence of this myth can contribute to a false sense of security among drivers, leading to the belief that they can speed without consequence if no camera sign is visible. This misconception can result in unnecessary penalties, car accidents and injuries that could have been avoided by simply following the speed limit.

Remember that:

  • The absence of a speed camera sign does not give you a free pass to exceed the speed limit, unless there was no adequate guidance in the location you were travelling 
  • Speed limits are in place for a reason
  • It is important to always abide by speed limits for the safety of all road users

2: You Can Take a Speed Awareness Cause to Remove Any Penalties for Speeding

Taking a speed awareness course is not a guaranteed way to remove any penalties for speeding. While it is true that such courses can sometimes lead to the removal of penalties, this is not always the case. Whether you are eligible for this option depends on the severity of the offence, and they are offered at the police’s discretion.

Some drivers may view speed awareness courses as a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card, but this is not the case. These courses are designed to educate drivers on the importance of speed limits, the potential consequences of speeding, and safe driving practices like proper braking and accelerating. They are not intended to be used as an easy way to escape penalties, but they may be used to help drivers that could benefit from the educational aspect of them as well as the decreased penalties.

When taking a speed awareness course, it is important to understand that it is a commitment and that failing to meet your requirements can lead the court to reconsider your original penalties.

3: Speeding Tickets Do Not Affect Your Driving Record or Insurance Costs

A speeding ticket may result in having penalty points added to your licence, and exceeding the 12-point limit could even licence suspension, known as a 'totting-up' offence. Additionally, insurance companies will be able to see your driving record and may increase their charges if they judge you to be at a higher risk of causing accidents or vehicle damage.

4: Speed Cameras Only Work in the Direction They Are Pointing

Another common myth about speed cameras is that they only work in the direction they are pointing, but this is not always true. Some speed cameras used in the UK can work in multiple directions. You should not assume that, just because a camera does not look like it is pointing at you, you are able to speed.

5: Everyone Speeds a Little Bit, So it is Okay

The idea that there is any amount of leniency on speeding is a dangerous misconception. Just because some people might exceed the speed limit occasionally, it does not make it acceptable by law or safe to do so. Speeding in any capacity is against the law, and the court will assume that drivers who choose to speed are making a conscious decision to break the law and put themselves and others at risk.

It is crucial to resist the temptation to follow the crowd or cut corners when it comes to speeding. Instead, prioritise safe driving and help to keep the roads safe.

6: It Is Safe to Speed Between Speed Cameras

Another common myth is that it is safe to speed in the areas between speed cameras, assuming you will not be detected. However, doing so still poses a danger to yourself and others on the road, as well as the risk of being caught by other enforcement methods, such as police who may be monitoring the road, nearby CCTV cameras, or dash-cams. In the event of a crash, if you were speeding and contributed to the accident, it will not matter whether there was a camera there to catch you or not, you may have even more to worry about, such as injuries or prosecution for a more serious crime, such as careless driving.

7: Speed Cameras Are Just Revenue Generators

Some people believe that speed cameras are merely put in place by authorities to make money off of careless drivers, but this is a narrow view of their purpose. While it is true that speed cameras generate revenue through fines, their primary objective is to:

  • Promote road safety
  • Reduce the number of accidents
  • Discourage drivers from speeding
  • Encourage them to drive within the speed limit

Many cameras are signposted and are painted in bright, obvious colours to scare drivers into driving more cautiously. The use of speed camera detectors is also prohibited in the UK, highlighting the focus on safety rather than revenue generation.

8: There Is No Harm In Going a Little Over the Speed Limit

The myth that there is no harm in going a little over the speed limit is a dangerous one. Even going slightly over the limit can increase the risk of accidents and have serious consequences for all road users.

Do not try to push the speed limit if you are in a rush. Plan ahead of time to make sure you understand your route and leave yourself adequate time to get to your destination. Pay attention to traffic updates and research the more dangerous roads where drivers tend to be more likely to speed. This can help you to avoid traffic jams and dangerous situations.

Why Is Speeding So Dangerous?

Speeding is dangerous and wrong because it increases the risk of collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians, potentially leading to serious injury or death. Road traffic accidents can be especially dangerous if there are size differences between the vehicles involved, such as lorries or motorbikes.

It also puts other drivers and pedestrians at risk, as they may not be able to react quickly enough to avoid a collision.

On top of this, speeding increases the severity of any collision that does occur, the higher the speed.

What Should I Do If I Am Caught Speeding?

Whether you are pulled over by the police or receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) through the post, being accused of speeding can be stressful. Understanding the process and your rights is essential to making sure you do not make the situation worse, and you may be able to have your penalties reduced or removed completely if you seek legal advice.

Here is a general overview of what you should do if you are caught speeding:

  1. Stay calm and cooperate: if stopped by the police, it is important to remain calm and cooperate fully. Pull over safely when instructed, turn off the engine, and keep your hands visible
  2. Provide necessary documentation: the police officer may ask for your driving licence, insurance certificate, and vehicle registration document. If you do not have these documents with you, you may be asked to present them at a police station within seven days, or you could face a document offence
  3. Understand the offence: listen carefully to the police officer's explanation of why you were stopped, and make sure you understand the offence you are being accused of. You have the right to ask questions if anything is unclear
  4. Seek legal advice: If you disagree with the offence, penalty, or have any other concerns, seek legal advice from experts in motoring law - such as those at JMW. Our motoring law team is experienced in dealing with all manner of speeding offences and can provide expert guidance tailored to your situation

Talk to Us

Our specialist motoring law offences regularly help our clients to understand and manage speeding offences. If you have received a speeding ticket and are unsure what to do, call us today. We can guide you through the entire process of accepting or disputing your penalties. Contact us on 0345 872 6666, or fill out an online contact form to arrange a time for us to call you back.

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