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  Q. What is the speed limit for different classes of road?
Q. What is a Fixed Penalty Notice?
Q. What if I don't pay within 28 days?
Q. What if I want to plead not guilty and have the matter contested?
Q. At what speed am I likely to be booked?
Q. What sorts of technology are being used?
Q. What is the penalty for speeding?
Q. What is the totting-up procedure?
Q. How long are points valid for?
Q. How many points can I have before I get disqualified?
Q. Is disqualification mandatory with 12 points?
 
   
   
       
       
       
 

Q. What is a Fixed Penalty Notice?

A fixed penalty notice is a form which is handed to a person who has committed an offence and is designed to save courts the time of listening to minor and undisputed offences. Non-endorseable tickets are given for such offences as defective lights, no seat belt, parking offences and other similar minor matters which do not carry penalty points.This carries a fixed fine of £30 and must be paid within 28 days.
An endorseable fixed penalty notice is very similar but carries a fine of at least £60 and a variable number of penalty points, depending on the offence itself. Speeding carries a minimum of 3 points.

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Q. What if I don't pay within 28 days?

If you fail to pay a fixed penalty fine within 28 days, the fine will automatically increase by 50%. If you fail to pay that, a summons is issued for you toattend court. Due to the fact that these tickets were designed to save the court's time, the magistrates do not take kindly to people not complying with them and will normally increase the fine and often the number of points endorsed on the licence.

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Q. What if I want to plead not guilty and have the matter contested?

You are entitled to have the matter contested in a magistrate's court if you do not agree that you were exceeding the speed limit. You simply need to inform the address which is written in red at the bottom of the notice of your desire and a summons will be sent to you with a date for the contested hearing. You should bear in mind, however, that disagreeing with the quoted speed and pleading not guilty are two separate matters. If the police officer says that you were doing 95mph and you say you were doing only 85mph the court would still find you guilty of speeding. The offence is one of exceeding the speed limit and the precise speed isn't actually quoted in the wording of the offence. This might, however, be of more concern where the speed quoted is above 100mph because the court will then look to disqualify you from driving unless you can give them a good reason for not doing so.

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Q. At what speed am I likely to be booked?

The direction that Police officers have in most areas, at least outside London, is that up to 10mph over the limit a verbal caution should be given. Between 10 and 25mph over the limit, an endorseable fixed penalty should be given and over 25mph the driver should be reported and summonsed to court. In practice, the police officer has a good deal of discretion in the matter and may allow more or less of a fluctuation in relation to each category. For instance, more is normally allowed on motorways where it is not uncommon for the law to be enforced only at speeds over 85mph. It should be noted, though, that cameras are often set at a lower speed than a patrol officer would set and so anything above 80 mph could be seen as fair game. Some areas, especially London, set their cameras at the speed limit plus 10% plus 2mph. In a 30mph limit they would, therefore, be set at only 35mph. Aggravating features such as the proximity of a school would also have an effect. Forces across the country are now looking to reduce the enforcement speed in line with ACPO guidelines, so expect a 10% plus 2mph limit to avoid any unwanted communication with the Police.

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Q. What sorts of technology are being used?

We've all heard of, and many have seen, the familiar face of the grey GATSO camera box at the side of roads. They will normally take 2 photographs of a vehicle as it passes and, despite advertising to the contrary, reflective number plates will rarely work in confusing the camera's lens. Using photographic techniques the number can normally be detected. The problem with these, of course, is that many people know where they are and so other forms of portable cameras are now becoming more popular. Some are video cameras which record everything for up to 3 hours and highlight those vehicles which are exceeding a set speed. These are automatically downloaded by computer to a central ticket office and the registered owners of the vehicles are contacted soon after. As these record everything that passes them, it is no good claiming that you were only doing that speed for a very short distance in order to overtake a slow moving vehicle or some similar claim because the tape will be inspected and the validity of your claim examined. These are portable devices and so it is impossible to say where they will be next. In practice, of course, they tend to be positioned either in accident black spots or where large numbers of drivers are likely to be caught speeding. Such areas might include fast 30mph stretches and the overhead bridges on motorways. Similar gadgets are widespread and include a laser directed radar gun which is manually operated but will work to infinity and takes only 1/50th of a second to gauge your speed and to photograph your vehicle. Patrol officers are legally accredited with being experts in speed and have calibrated speedos in their patrol cars which provides sufficient corroboration to prove an offence in court. They do not need to be accompanied because the speedo corroborates their estimation that you were exceeding the speed limit. They may well also have VASCAR (Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder) Units which may also be linked to video cameras. These work on a simple time and distance equation to give the target vehicle's average speed over a given distance. It is operated manually and if he can see you he can check you.

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Q. What is the penalty for speeding?

If you are dealt with by means of a fixed penalty notice, the fine is currently fixed at 60 and 3 points are endorsed on your driving licence. If you go to court you will find that the magistrates will increase this, often to several hundred pounds and also increase the number of points they put onto your licence to 5 or more.

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Q. What is the totting-up procedure?

The totting-up procedure is simply a totting-up of the penalty points which you have accrued. If you accrue 12 points within any 3 year period, you face the possibility of disqualification. See "Is disqualification mandatory with 12 points"

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Q. How long are points valid for?

Points are valid on your licence for 3 years for the purposes of totting-up but will normally remain there for 4 years for admin. purposes.

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Q. How many points can I have before I get disqualified?

You can accrue up to 12 penalty points within any 3 years on your driving licence before you get disqualified under the totting-up procedure. This is simply where the total number of points on your driving licence is added up and if the total is equal to, or more than, 12 then you may be disqualified from driving, normally for 12 months.

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Q. Is disqualification mandatory with 12 points?

No. You are allowed to plead what is known as "special circumstances" in a bid to avoid disqualification. This often means that you can claim that a special hardship would be forced upon you if you were to be disqualified from driving. If you were to lose your job if you lost your licence, for instance, then the magistrates might take the view that the punishment in your particular case would be out of keeping with the severity of the offence and would therefore allow you to keep your licence, albeit with a heavily increased fine. You can only claim "special circumstances" once because it is accepted that you will have had your chance to reform and if you then blow it, tough luck.

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