The UK’s speeding fines explained

Carlton Boyce / 25 April 2017

Did you know that new speeding fines came into force in April 2017? Find out more about the bands and the penalties...

Speeding fines have increased

Fines for the most serious speeding offences have risen in order to better reflect the gravity with which the courts view them.

Before April 24 2017, the minimum penalty you could expect to receive for speeding was a £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your licence. But after April 24 2017, magistrates in England and Wales were directed to apply a Band C speeding fine for the most serious offenders.

What does that mean if I'm caught speeding?

Band C speeding fine

A Band C speeding fine means that anyone speeding at 51mph or above in a 30mph limit - for example - faces a fine equivalent to 150% of their weekly income, and 6 penalty points on their driving licence, or disqualification from driving for up to 56 days. If you’re disqualified for 56 days or more, you must apply for a new licence before you're able to start driving again.

For anyone earning £25,000 a year, a speeding fine equivalent to 150% of their weekly income means handing over a minimum of £720 - no small amount.

Band B speeding fine

You might receive a Band B speeding fine for doing between 41-50mph, in which case you'd face a fine equivalent to 100% of your weekly income (£480), and 4 penalty points on your driving licence, or disqualification from driving for up to 28 days.

Band A speeding fine

A Band A speeding fine would be appropriate if you are caught speeding between 31-40 in a 30mph zone, and you can expect to receive a fine equivalent to 50% of your weekly income (£240), and 3 penalty points on your driving licence.

By way of comparison, the average speeding fine handed out in 2015 was just £188.

Carlton Boyce

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Essential tips you can't ignore if you want to beat the smart motorway cameras

Disqualification from driving vs penalty points

If you get caught driving at a speed that will land you with a Band B or C speeding fine, the magistrates may believe your speeding is too serious for penalty points. In this case, you may be disqualified from driving for a period of time instead of being given penalty points.

You might wonder if you're better off being disqualified from driving for a short time, rather than taking the 6 penalty points on your licence - especially if you've already racked up a handful of points with previous motoring offfences. In some instances you'd be right, especially if the addition of 6 penalty points would take you over the 12 point limit, as this would attract a six month driving ban rather than up to 56 days. 

However, magistrates are aware of this potential 'loophole', so odds are that they would be reluctant to ban you for a short time in lieu of penalty points, especially if you have been consistently driving at dangerously high speeds. 

If this is the case, perhaps you should be asking yourself exactly why it's so important for you to get where you're going so quickly, and consider rethinking your attitude to the laws that are, essentially, there for everyone's safety...

See our speeding fine band calculator for details of how much you may have to pay if you're caught speeding after April 24, 2017

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Are the new speeding fines unlimited?

No. The speeding fine is to be capped at £2,500 for those caught speeding on the motorway, and £1,000 everywhere else. 

This means that anyone earning more than about £50,000 a year probably won’t be asked to pay any more than this, a situation that leaves poorer drivers disproportionately disadvantaged.

Find out how to avoid being hit further with points and fines from these new motoring laws

Is there scope for variation in the new speeding fine?

Yes, magistrates are instructed to take any mitigating or aggravating factors into account. A mitigating factor, like speeding because of an emergency, for example, and receiving a Band C fine, could see the speeding ticket reduced to 125% of the driver’s weekly income.

However, the presence of an aggravating factor could see a Band C speeding fine rise to as much as 175%. Aggravating factors include things like being a persistent offender or speeding while towing a trailer or a caravan.

Magistrates can also sentence outside of the guidelines if they feel that the interests of justice would be best served by doing so.

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Why are the speeding fine changes being implemented?

Consultation last year showed that many magistrates and criminal justice professionals felt the current sentencing guidelines "did not properly take into account the increase in potential harm that can result as speed above the speed limit increases".

Anything else I need to know about the new speeding fines?

The imposition of a speeding fine is just one weapon in the magistrates’ arsenal. They can still issue higher fines, impose a driving ban, or sentence you to a prison sentence.

New speeding fines calculator

Speed limit (mph) Recorded speed (mph)
20 41 and above 31-40  21-30
30 51 and above
41-50 31-40 
40 66 and above
56-65  41-55
50  76 and above
66-75  51-65
60 91 and above
81-90  61-80
70 101 and above
91-100  71-90
Sentencing range  Band C fine
(150% of relevant weekly income)
Band B fine
(100% of relevant weekly income)
Band A fine
(50% of relevant weekly income)
 Points /
Dis­­qualification for 7-56 days OR
6 points on your licence
Dis­­qualification for 7-28 days OR
4-6 points on your licence
3 points on your licence


And whilst you’re trying to avoid a speeding ticket, don’t be tempted to reach for your phone…

Mobile phone penalties to double

We predicted that the penalties for using your mobile phone while driving - and remember, you don’t have to be moving to commit the offence - were set to double in 2017, and we were right.

Since March 1, 2017, anyone caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel faces six penalty points on their driving licence and a fixed penalty fine of £200.

This means that new drivers, who already face a driving ban if they accrue six penalty points in the first two years of their driving career, can find themselves banned after being caught just the once. The rest of us can lose our driving licence if we reach 12 penalty points. 

Next article: Does a policeman have to be wearing their helmet to be able to fine you? Can you be fined for driving too slowly? We look at the laws around speeding, fines, and penalty points  >>>

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