Speeding, Safety & the Law


Without doubt, in the last fifteen years or so, the biggest increase in motoring offences has been that of speeding.

Even considering the gradual decline in policemen on our roads, and despite budget cuts and limitations, the growth in speed camera use has led to a hitherto unseen explosion in the volumes of drivers prosecuted for excess speed offences.

Three types of cameras are mostly responsible, fixed camera such as Truvelo & Gatso, SPECs constant speed cameras and mobile vans and handheld detectors used at the roadside.

Combined, these devices send in excess of 1 million drivers each year on speed awareness courses.

What is Speeding?

Most police forces use a set of guidelines that allow for any legal discrepancies in indicated speedometer speed in each vehicle. By law your can speedometer can read anywhere up to 10% below the actual vehicle speed, but not in excess of it.

For the sake of leniency, most police officers tend to ignore speeding if it is within;

The speed limit + 10% + 3 mph

This translates as following;

30 mph = 36 mph

40 mph = 47 mph

50 mph = 58 mph

60 mph = 69 mph

70 mph = 80 mph

It is quite rare to find instances of speeds below these being stopped by police officers (although in lower speed limits they sometimes have a blitz if there have been many reported incidents in one location).

Speeding offence Specialists Patterson Law, one of the leading motoring solicitors in the UK told us however that cameras are usually less lenient and there are even some zero tolerant cameras being reported whereby 30 mph mean 30 mph and 31 will result in a ticket being issued.

These are as yet unsubstantiated, but motorists need to be aware that the very real possibility exists that zero tolerance might soon become the normal protocol nationwide.

Indicated speed

For the majority of drivers, if you travel at the maximum indicated speed on your speedometer for the road you are on, you will never get caught for speeding. You will always be doing 57 in a 60, 48 in a 50 etc, so the tolerance local police may or may not give you isn’t of much relevance.

Speed Camera Testing

There has been feedback from drivers who state that constant speed SPECs cameras on a 60 mph stretch of the A1 on the Bedfordshire / Cambridgeshire border doesn’t issue tickets for a steady 65mph constant speed (set using sat nav speed rather than speedo) indicating that SPECs offer a similar level of tolerance to fixed cameras.

Who is to say if cameras will continue to give drivers the benefit of minor infringements over the limit….. currently they do… but that might change.

Speeding Isn’t Compulsory

It’s important to remember that while there is a huge level of outrage about motorists being caught for speeding, no one forces you to break the law and it is the same for everyone. The majority of drivers don’t get caught for speeding, so it really is up to you…. you could slow down?