Speeding fines are on the increase. Not only has the amount you pay risen significantly in the last few years, thanks to increased use of speed cameras, but the likelihood of getting caught has also increased too. Speeding fines issued in 2016 reached 1.97m – a whopping 107,000 increase over 2014. With one-in-three motorists fined each year according to the RAC, it pays to know about speeding fines and what to expect if you’re caught speeding.

Speeding fines – what are your chances of getting caught speeding?

The key message is to not speed. Speed limits are exactly that – limits – rather than targets to aim for. In law, speed limits are the top speed you should travel on a road. In practice, various police forces demonstrate some flexibility in terms of how far over the limit you can before being fined, with some forces allowing an extra 10%. That means in a 30mph zone, anything above 33mph is very likely to result in a speeding fine if you’re caught speeding.

That’s not a bad thing. In 2015, nearly 250 people were killed in accidents where the driver was speeding, equal to around 15% of all road fatalities according to the RAC.

There are two ways to get caught speeding: being caught by a speed camera or being stopped by police.

If you are caught speeding by a speed camera– Expect to get a notice through the post to your home address where you’ve registered your car within 14 days. If you don’t get the notices within 14 days, you may have escaped getting caught or you could challenge the speeding fine in court on this technicality. You’ll receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and a Section 172 notice. This needs to be returned within 28 days and details who was driving the car. The driver will then be sent the Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).

If you are caught speeding by the police– There are three options open to the police if they stop you. The most lenient will be to give you a verbal warning and let you go. However, they can issue or send you an FPN as if you had been caught by a speed camera, though as they have your details as the driver, you won’t need to fill in a Section 72 notice unless one gets sent. They can – depending on the severity of your speed – order you to directly attend court and will send you details of what to do.

Speeding fines – what are the new speeding fines if you are caught speeding?

Since April 2017, the lower limit for speeding fines for more serious speeding offences has increased significantly. You could face a speeding fine of up to £2,500 depending on where you were speeding and by how much. If you were caught speeding on the motorway, for example, doing 101mph or higher, you could face a fine equal to 175% of your weekly income – capped at £2,500 – as well as a driving ban for up to 56 days or six points on your licence.

The new speeding fine bands are designed to dramatically increase the fines for people caught speeding. They are currently divided into three bands:

Speeding fines – different recorded speed bands

Speed limit (mph)Band A: recorded speed (mph)Band B: recorded speed (mph)Band C: recorded speed (mph)
2021-3031-4041 and over
3031-4041-5051 and over
4041-5556-6566 and over
5051-6566-7576 and over
6061-8081-9091 and over
7071-9091-100101 and over
Penalty points/ Disqualification3Disqualify 7-28 days OR 4-6 pointsDisqualify 7 to 56 days OR 6 points
Fine*25 - 75% of weekly income75 - 125% of weekly income125 - 175% of weekly income

*Capped at £1,000, rising to £2,500 if you are caught on a motorway.

How speeding fines work when you are caught speeding

For minor speeding – a few miles per hour over the stated speed limit – and for a first offence, most speeding fines will fall into the ‘minor offence’ category. This may not always apply, for example, if you’re caught speeding outside a school. For a minor offence, you’ll be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of a £100 fine and three points on your driving licence. The points will stay on your licence as endorsements for four years, and you’ll need to disclose them to future employers.

If you get an FPN, you can either accept the speeding fine and endorsements, or you can plead not guilty. You’ll need to decide if you have a case, but it is worth knowing that around ten per cent of all speeding fines are later cancelled usually on appeal according to a report by Bennetts. If you do plead not guilty, you’ll have to plead your case in a magistrate’s court. If unsuccessful, you’ll be subject to the fines from the speeding bands. That means instead of a £100 FPN and three points for driving 31mph in a 30mph zone, you could face a fine of between 25% to 75% of your weekly income capped at £1,000, plus three points on your driving licence.

If you’re caught significantly over the speed limit, then you could face a court summons. This means you would appear before a magistrate’s court and plead your case. You can plead not guilty – and some people may be able to avoid a speeding fine if the police did not follow due process when issuing the fine or recording your speed. However, in most cases, if found guilty, you may face a fine, points and disqualification from driving as set by the magistrate using the speeding bands as a guide.

Remember, if you collect more than 12 points on your driving licence during a three-year period (and six points within two years for new drivers) you will be disqualified from driving.

Learn how to spot speed cameras with our guide to speed cameras: types of speed cameras explained.

How to avoid a speeding fine and points

For first-time offenders of minor offences, most police forces should offer you the chance to attend a speed awareness course instead of paying a fine and getting points. This also applies if you haven’t attended a speed awareness course in the past three years. You’ll have to pay for the speed awareness course. It’s usually around £100, the same as the fine you would have paid, and it will take around half a day.