Know Your Legal Rights – Driving Offences

Penalties Fixed penalty speeding is categorised by the courts as follows:

Driving Endorsement Codes

SP10 = Excess speed – Goods vehicles
SP20 = Excess speed – Non goods/ passenger vehicles
SP30 = Excess speed – Private cars and motorcycles
SP40 = Excess speed – Passenger service vehicles i.e. buses
SP50 = Excess Motorway speed limit
SP60 = Excess miscellaneous speeding offences i.e. exceeding temporary speed restriction

Note: These are the codes that appear as endorsements on driving licences in relation to speed. They are not the same as the police codes on your ‘ticket’, but they are the ones that appear on your licence. The two differing codes should not be confused.

The primary legislation imposing speed limits is the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Broadly this deals with the following:-

Section 14 – The powers of traffic authorities to make temporary speed limits by order where roadworks are proposed or being undertaken, where the road is dangerous or litter clearing or cleaning up operations are being undertaken.
Section 17 – Powers to impose speed limits on “special roads” – eg motorways
Section 81 – The speed limit on restricted roads is 30mph – ie a road with a street light every 200 yards, or that has been designated as a restricted road and fined as such. In the absence of signage where the road would otherwise, higher limit, the road is to be treated as a restricted road.
Section 88 – Secretary of State has power to impose temporary speed limits.
Section 89 – There is a general offence of contravening any speed limit made under any legislation – A number of prosecutions have been defended successfully on the basis that the imposition of speed limits was unlawful because the necessary orders were not in place

Fixed Penalties

Applies to the more minor offences. If you readily admit the offence without the need for the issue of a summons, then the penalty is less. However, penalty points (as well as fines) can still apply.

Drink/driving or a dangerous driving conviction will result in an automatic 12-month ban, for repeat offenders or high alcohol levels it may be longer. Two drink driving offences within 10 years could get you a three-year ban. Please be aware that Doctors can now take blood to test from unconscious or incapacitated drivers without their consent.

Totting up under the totting up scheme

Points generally last for three years; however, after disqualification, you cannot apply for a new licence until the end of the fourth year. In other circumstances, points can last longer: 11 years from date of conviction for offences relating to drink /drugs and driving, such as causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink/ drugs and causing death by careless driving then failing to provide a specimen for analysis 4 years from date of conviction for reckless/dangerous driving and offences resulting in disqualification.

If you are in any doubt in regard to a prosecution involving a driving offence then seek independant legal advice.