Thursday, February 16, 2017

Eight Myths About Speeding in England and Wales

Consideration has been given for the editing and publishing of this post

Speeding is the most common type of driving offence, with around one in seven motorists being caught driving over the speed limit every year. Some drivers are repeat offenders and end up being slapped with big fines and lengthy bans, but most receive either the offer of a speed awareness course or a Fixed Penalty Notice – the latter option involves three points and a £100 fine. 

The police in England and Wales normally allow drivers a 10% allowance plus another 2mph without prosecuting. In practice this means you can do any speed below 35mph in a 30mph zone – 3mph plus 2mph – and still avoid points.

As with other legal proceedings and offences, there are some stubborn myths that have led drivers into trouble before – the old copper coin trick to pass a breath test, for example. Speeding is a more straightforward affair, but there are still misconceptions surrounding it. Here are eight of the most common myths that you won’t hear when you take professional legal advice

If there are no white lines on the road surface before or after the camera, you can’t be prosecuted
White lines in the road only apply to fixed radar devices such as GATSOS or HADECS. Speed cameras can, and many do, operate without any road markings. If you’re flashed by one, you’ll probably receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution through the post at some point.

If you have fewer than six penalty points on your driving licence, you don’t have to declare them to your insurance provider
This really isn’t a good idea! If you fail to declare penalty points, you run a serious risk of invalidating your insurance policy.

Speed cameras can’t identify you if your number plates are dirty or obscured in any other way
While this may be true, you’re breaking the law before you even get anywhere! The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations Act 2001 means it’s an offence to drive on a public road with dirty or obscured plates. Doing so could earn you up to a £1,000 fine. 

If you’re speeding in a hire car you won’t get caught
The hire company will be informed by the police that one of its fleet was driven over the speed limit and it’s the responsibility of the company to identify the driver. Which means you’ll be fingered!

You can flash your lights to warn other motorists about a nearby speed trap
While you may think you’re being kind to other drivers, by doing this you could end up being prosecuted for obstructing the police. 

A police officer has to wear a helmet to give you a speeding ticket 
Again, just wrong! The officer merely has to be identifiable as a police officer to book you.

It’s not illegal to drive too slowly 
OK, there is no minimum speed limit on most of the UK’s roads, but if police officers think you’re presenting a hazard to other drivers and road users by dawdling in the middle lane, you can be stopped! You’re much more likely to get a verbal warning, but you could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention or without consideration for other road users. 

There were no warning signs on the speed camera van so no-one can be prosecuted for speeding
The warning symbol – a black and white camera – isn’t a legal requirement. It’s a legal requirement for you to observe the speed limit, though…