Speeding offences

The speed limit

The speed limit varies according to the type of vehicle and the type of road. The following table is a summary of the UK speed limits. The limit can also be fixed by traffic signs, which specify the limit in a particular area. Some of these traffic signs can be temporary and are taken away after the particular hazard has gone.

Vehicle typeBuilt-up areasSingle carriagewayDual carriagewayMotorway

Cars

30 mph

60 mph

70 mph

70 mph

Vehicles towing

30 mph

50 mph

60 mph

60 mph

Coaches / buses

30 mph

50 mph

60 mph

70 mph

Lorries up to 7.5 tonnes

30 mph

50 mph

60 mph

70 mph

Lorries more than 7.5 tonnes

30 mph

40 mph

50 mph

60 mph

There is no set minimum speed limit; although if you drive too slowly, you can be charged with inconsiderate driving (Motoring offences).

Evidence of speeding

Evidence of the speeding can be from:

  • An observation by 2 policemen
  • An observation by one policeman plus the mechanical evidence from a speed gun
  • A speed camera of an approved type
  • Expert evidence about skid marks
  • A time and distance device installed in the police vehicle

How do the police decide whether to prosecute?

The action taken mostly depends on how much over the speed limit you were driving. Although individual police forces can use their discretion, the Association of Chief Police Officers suggests the following when enforcing speed limits:

Speed limitMin. speed for a speeding ticketMin. speed for prosecution

20 mph

25 mph

35 mph

30 mph

35 mph

50 mph

40 mph

46 mph

66 mph

50 mph

57 mph

76 mph

60 mph

68 mph

86 mph

70 mph

79 mph

96 mph

Defences

It's not a defence if you say you didn't see or you weren't aware of the sign. However, it can be a defence if you can prove that the traffic sign was broken or had been taken away in an area where a specific speed limit had been imposed.

In order to challenge photographic evidence of a traffic or speed camera, you'll need to support your argument with expert evidence of possible inaccuracies.

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