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UK Speeding Laws Explained

Reading time 4 minutes • Last updated on February 26th, 2021

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UK Speeding Laws Explained

Last updated on February 26th, 2021What does this mean?

This month we’re looking at the next section of our UK Driving Laws series; UK speeding laws. Speeding is reckless and dangerous behaviour, and that’s why speed limits are put in place to save lives. However, more and more people are disregarding the limits put in place and endangering the lives of themselves and other road users. Read on to find out more about why speeding laws are necessary, the various limits throughout the UK and the consequences of not obeying the law.

UK speeding laws infographic

UK speeding laws – Why we need them

The RAC foundation reports that in five percent of all road accidents, exceeding the speed limit was a factor, and in these incidents, there was a fatality rate of 17 percent. To put that in figures, in 2013, 3,064 people were killed in collisions where at least one party involved was speeding. Unfortunately, even though speeding is a very real threat on our roads, it is still a common occurrence, and between 2013 and 2014, statistics showed a five percent increase in the number of people seriously injured in a speeding collision, with 22,807 incidents reported.

Speed limits are put in place to reduce the chance of fatalities should a collision occur, and stringent testing is carried out to evaluate a practical and safe speed for vehicles to be travelling at in certain conditions, so it is vital you stick to the limits put in place by the government, no matter how confident you feel travelling at higher speeds.

Speeding is an everyday occurrence on some roads, and because of the seriousness of the offence, it is something that the police are always looking to cut down on, with more and more speed cameras being installed to roads up and down the country – and these measures are proving effective, with a 25 percent increase in fines issued in 2015 than the previous year.

Speed limits

Speeding limits must be obeyed on all roads, and there are national road limits to make identifying the likely limit easier if you can’t see a sign – although speed limits should be clearly marked along roadsides. Remember to bear in mind, however, that speed limits vary between vehicle types in some situations, so just because the vehicles in front of you are travelling quicker than you are doesn’t necessarily mean you can do the same.

Note: The following speed limits are the national averages, but local councils may set their own speed limits, so always obey the signposted speed.

In built-up areas

The speed limit for all vehicles is 30 mph. This speed was selected for the fact that collisions with pedestrians hit at 40 mph are four times more likely to be fatal than those at 30 mph, making it essential that you stick to the speed limit.

On single carriageways

Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans and motorhomes less than 3.05 tonnes in unladen weight can travel at 60 mph. Any vehicle towing another vehicle or trailer, buses, coaches, motorhomes that exceed 3.05 tonnes in unladen weight and goods vehicles can travel 50 mph (for goods vehicles heavier than 7.5 tonnes laden weight, the speed is reduced to 40mph in Scotland).

On dual carriageways

For cars, motorbikes, car-derived vans and motorhomes under 3.05 tonnes in unladen weight the limit is 70 mph, while for all other vehicles it is 60mph, with the exception being goods vehicles heavier than 7.5 tonnes laden weight which are restricted to 50mph on dual carriageways in Scotland.

For motorways

Cars, motorcycles, car-derived vans, motorhomes, goods vehicles, buses and coaches under 12 metres in length can travel at 70mph, while goods vehicles, any vehicle towing a trailer and buses and coaches over 12 metres in length can travel at a maximum of 60 mph.

UK speeding laws – Fines and penalties

If you are caught speeding, you can receive a fixed penalty of a £100 fine and three penalty points, and if you are prosecuted for speeding, the fine can be between £1,000 and £2,500. If you accumulate 12 penalty points in a three year period, you will be disqualified from driving.

If you have held your licence for less than two years, your licence can be revoked if you accumulate six penalty points.

Remember, these fines and penalties are only in regards to speeding. The penalty is much harsher if you were to crash and cause injury or death by speeding; offences that can lead to many years’ imprisonment, a driving ban and an unlimited fine.

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The information within this article was accurate on the date the article was last updated based on the information that was openly available on the topic online. The Windscreen Company accepts no liability for any loss or damage caused by or connected with any error or omission in this article. You should make your own judgement in regards to use of this document and seek professional advice on your particular circumstances.

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