The difference of a few miles per hour can mean the difference between life and death. The faster someone is driving, the less time they have to stop if something unexpected happens.

If you kill someone while speeding, you will have to live with the long-term emotional consequences.

Speed limits are there for a reason.

Approximately two-thirds of all crashes in which people are killed or seriously injured happen on roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less. The 30mph limit is not a random figure. It is set because there is a substantial difference in the risk of causing death or serious injury when driving even just a few miles above 30mph.


Government research about speeding shows that:

- The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph
- An average family car travelling at 35mph will need an extra 21 feet (six metres) to stop, compared to one travelling at 30mph, no matter how good the driver is
- The force of the impact on a cyclist or pedestrian is increased by a third when hit at 35mph, rather than 30mph
- For each 1mph reduction in average speed, it has been estimated that crash frequency is reduced by 5%
- It is not safer to drive faster at night. Casualty rates are double that during daylight hours due to the higher speeds because of less traffic, higher alcohol consumption, tiredness and darkness
- Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road collisions
- In 2011, 3,267 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes where speed was a factor
- Fatal crashes are four times as likely on rural roads as urban roads

The simple fact is that speeding is an unnecessary contributor to the number of casualties on our roads and, even when motorists are observing the limit, they may still be driving at an inappropriate speed for the conditions.


The costs

Based on the Department for Transport's figures, the cost to the community of a fatal crash is around £1.9million, a serious crash costs in the region of £215,000 and a slight crash costs £22,000. This sum includes emergency service costs and road closures.

How does speeding increase your insurance? If you get 3 points on your licence for speeding, your insurance premiums could increase by £35 per year.  Points for speeding stay on your licence for four years.  Additional points for speeding during the same four year period can also increase your premium.  An insurance company has the right to declare a policy void if, in the event of a fault or non-fault crash, a person has not declared any speeding points/endorsements. This could affect gaining insurance from other companies.

New drivers

Rules apply to drivers within two years of the date of passing their driving test: if the number of penalty points on your licence reaches six or more as a result of offences you commit before the two years are over, including any you committed before you passed the test, your licence will be revoked. You must then reapply for a provisional licence and may drive only as a learner until you pass a theory and practical test.

National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC, formerly ACPO)thresholds

Guidelines given to the Police by the NPCC state that: "It is anticipated that, other than in the most exceptional circumstances, the issue of fixed penalty notices and summonses is likely to be the minimum appropriate enforcement action as soon as the speeds in the table below have been reached"¹.

This means that there is official leeway given to motorists exceeding the speed limit - 10% plus 2mph over the posted speed limit.

All Partnerships have a commitment to reach these threshold enforcement limits but no Partnership enforces below these limits. These enforcement guidelines are there to allow for lapses in concentration and inaccurate speedometers. Therefore, motorists who stray a few miles over the speed limit will not be penalised.

 Limit (mph) Fixed penalty (mph) Summons (mph) 
 20 25 35
 30 35 50
 40 46 66
 50 57 76
 60 68 86
 70 79 96
Fixed penalty

£100 and 3 penalty points.


Magisterial discretion (level 2). Maximum of:

  1. £1,000 fine
  2. Licence endorsed – a range of penalty points are applicable
  3. Disqualification
  4. Compulsory re-testing

Information about NPCC's Code of Practice for Operational Use of Enforcement Equipment can be found on its website www.npcc.police.uk.

¹ NPCC guidance paper on Speed Enforcement.




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