Challenging speeding tickets

Speeding is illegal. The speeding limits are there to protect the public and save lives and the only foolproof way to avoid getting a speeding ticket is to stick to the speed limits.

Some argue that speed limits are too low, but it is impossible to set a speed limit that adjusts itself depending on driver ability. Speeding laws are designed to ensure a cautious driver is not forced to drive beyond their limits to keep up with the traffic flow dictated by a boy racer.

The law needs to be a one-size-fits-all affair and any errors made must be on the side of caution.

If you are caught speeding

If you are caught speeding you will be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), outlining the offence and a form called a Section 172 notice. You must complete the Section 172 notice within 28 days declaring who was driving the car at the time of the offence. If you don’t, you’ll face six points on your licence and a fine of up to £1,000. Once the NIP is returned you may be:

  • issued with a fixed penalty notice which involves a £100 fine and three points on your licence;
  • ordered to attend a speed awareness course – this allows you to dodge the fine and points on your licence but you will have to pay for it;
  • prosecuted and fined a percentage of your weekly wage depending on how fast you were going and receive points on your licence or be banned from driving.

You may think the speeding ticket you received was a mistake, in which case you may have grounds for challenging it. This may arise, for example, if:

You were not at the wheel at that time

You’ll need to be able to prove that you were elsewhere at the time the offence was committed.

There were mistakes in the details on your NIP

Significant mistakes can render the apprehension invalid (eg, if the wrong charge is listed on it).

Signatures were missing on the ticket

This omission alone can overturn your case in a speeding ticket.

The notice was received beyond the 14 days allowed by law

If you do not receive the NIP within 14 days, any prosecution will usually be considered invalid.

The speed violation you’re accused of was inconsistent with the traffic signs posted in the area

Review the area and make sure the speed limit was properly posted.

The camera or the speed gun was faulty or recorded the wrong speed

This is particularly effective if the data is near the borderline of legal speeds; you’ll need to know for sure that your speedometer is in fact accurate.

Your GPS data differs from that of the speed camera or gun

A driver safety GPS-based telematics device has been used successfully in the UK to overturn the data from a speeding camera or speed gun.

Deciding whether or not to make a challenge

You should weigh your alternatives carefully before challenging a speeding ticket. It’s all very well to be sure that you weren’t actually speeding, but proving this to the satisfaction of the court is another matter. If you take the matter to court and you lose, this could see you facing a larger fine, more penalty points and added legal fees.