Earlier this month we read that a recent study has found that one in three British motorists is fined every year. As many as 12 million drivers receive a penalty notice each year which equates to about one penalty notice issued every 2.5 seconds!
This shocking figure is in addition to the 1.2 million drivers who are afforded the opportunity to attend speed awareness courses instead of receiving a penalty and points on their licences.
Motorists are given fines and penalty notices for numerous types of offences but one of the most common offences in which these are imposed is speeding! Motorists can be caught speeding by manned devices or automated speed cameras. These cameras and devices come in all shapes and sizes however there are safeguards in place to ensure that they are properly functioning and calibrated to prevent inaccurate prosecutions.
As the automated systems in place for catching offending motorists become more advanced and more common, the number of motorists being caught speeding and issued penalties is likely to increase. This means that statistically you are more likely than ever to find yourself at risk of unwanted penalty points on your licence, particularly if you are completing high mileages each year.
If you are found to be speeding you may be eligible to attend a speed awareness course. This course is offered on a discretionary basis for low speed offences and it is not given as an automatic right. If you do attend and complete the course this will avoid the imposition of any points on your licence for the speeding offence it relates to. You may only attend one speed awareness course every 3 years.
If you are not offered a speed awareness course or have already completed a speed awareness course within the 3 year period then the offence may be suitable for a fixed penalty offer of 3 penalty points and a £100 fine. The fixed penalty offer only applies to drivers who have fewer than 9 penalty points on their licence and who have committed an offence of driving marginally over the speed limit. Where the offence is a significant amount over the limit the offence may be one dealt with through the Court system where either a disqualification or up to 6 penalty points may be imposed.
New drivers who have been driving for less than 2 years need to be extra careful as once they amount 6 penalty points on their licence it will be revoked. In this situation you will need to refuse any offer of penalty points and apply to the Court for a discretionary driving ban to avoid the points revocation.
If you are unlucky enough to find yourself with 12 penalty points on your licence you will be summoned to Court for a disqualification hearing. The Court will disqualify you for a minimum 6 months at this stage unless you can satisfy them that doing so will cause you exceptional hardship.