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The Danger, Cost & Penalties of Speeding Revealed

By Stephen Turvil | November 12, 2018


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How speeding by a small margin increases the risk of fatal crashes plus the fines, points, bans and high cost of insurance

The Danger, Cost & Penalties of Speeding Revealed

How much speeding increases the risk of fatal collisions

Motorists that speed fail to recognise the danger to life, financial penalties and other sanctions they face in the United Kingdom. Consider risk, for starters. Brake is a road safety charity that quantifies it in simple, numerical, terms that reveal how travelling even slightly too fast can have severe consequences.

The speed limit in town where there tends to be pedestrians is typically 30 mph, for example. If a car travelling at said limit hits a pedestrian there is a 1 in 5 chance of fatality. However, there is a 1 in 3 chance if the car is travelling at 35 mph. That is a significant, alarming, rise relative to the speed difference.

Furthermore, the speed limit close to schools is often 20 mph. A vehicle travelling at this limit can stop safely if a child steps into its path 3 lengths ahead. However, if the vehicle brakes from 25 mph the child is hit at 18 mph. Brake claimed the force of impact is similar to falling through an upstairs window. Also note:

  • Motorists caught speeding once a year are twice as likely to crash than their more responsible, safer, counterparts 
  • In 2016, speeding or travelling too fast for the conditions was a contributory factor in 24% of fatal collisions 

Punishment for speeding

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A Fixed Penalty Notice is the punishment for minor speeding offences in The United Kingdom. The perpetrators receive a £100 fine plus 3 driving licence penalty points. However, the more serious offenders and those that contest such sanctions can be taken to court. The consequences can then increase significantly.

Band A, B, or C penalties therefore await those found guilty in court, The Sentencing Council said. Bands are linked to fines (up to 175% weekly income), points (up to 6) and bans (typically up to 56 days). The fines are limited to £1,000 rising to £2,500 for motorway offences. The table below confirms the range of sanctions.

Speed LimitVehicle Speed (Band A)
 Vehicle Speed (Band B)
 Vehicle Speed (Band C)
2021 - 30
 31 - 40 
 41 +
3031 - 40
 41 - 50
 51 +
4041 - 55
 56 - 65
 66 +
5051 - 65
 66 - 75
 76 +
6061 - 80
 81 - 90
 91 +
7071 - 90
 91 - 100
 101 +
Points or disqualification
3 points
 4 - 6 points or 7 - 28 day ban
 6 points or 7 - 56 day ban
25% - 75% of relevant weekly income 
 75% - 125% of relevant weekly   income
 125% - 175% of relevant weekly   income

However, the Sentencing Council confirmed the most prolific speeding offenders can be penalised further still. ‘Where an offender is driving grossly in excess of the speed limit, the court should consider a disqualification in excess of 56 days’, it added.

Motor insurance price hikes

Penalty points have implications such as increasing the cost of insurance, Consumer Intelligence research confirmed. The data analysis company explained drivers that had no convictions paid £693 per-annum on average for the year to April 2018, for instance.

However, on average a speeding conviction – of which there are multiple types – increased the cost of motor insurance by £50, to £729. Example offences plus the associated extra cost included:

  • SP30 (exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road) + £36 
  • SP50 (exceeding speed limit on a motorway) + £101 

John Blevins, Consumer Intelligence Pricing Expert, explained: ‘Insurers understandably take the view that drivers who break the speed limit are potentially a greater risk and, as a consequence, put up the cost of their motor insurance. Premiums may be heading down again after years of increases, but drivers who break the law will not benefit from any price reductions’, Mr Blevins emphasised.

Banned from the road

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Points do more than raise the cost of insurance. Drivers that collect a certain number for any/all motoring offences can be banned. 12 points in 3 years is the benchmark for experienced motorists. Those that passed the test within the last 2 years can be banned if they get 6. Such a ban has consequences. For instance:

  • Loss of employment, e.g. licence required 
  • Embarrassment, e.g. shame of admitting the offence to family 
  • Social exclusion, e.g. cannot travel to parties 
  • Loss of convenience, e.g. cannot get to the shops 
  • Cancelled holiday, e.g. cannot take a road trip 
  • Cost, e.g. taxi, train and bus journeys 
  • Resit the driving test to prove competence (at some expense) 

Tip to avoid speeding

Drivers that want to stay within the speed limit, be responsible, and reduce risk to others can take a few simple steps. For example:

  • Leave early so there is less temptation to rush 
  • Pay attention to the traffic signs 
  • Call out the speed limit 
  • Check the speedometer frequently 
  • Note clues that suggest the limit is changing, e.g. roadworks 
  • Move the steering wheel so it does not obscure the speedometer 
  • Use cruise control 
  • Use the vehicle’s speed limiter 
  • Avoid distractions such as loud music 
  • Review The Highway Code 
  • Drive in a calm, smooth, and controlled manner 
  • Never rush to get to traffic lights before they go red 
  • Note that lampposts tend to indicate a 30 mph zone 

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