Monday, 24 February 2014

Motoring law – Speeding and New Drivers

Guest Postlaw on speedingDoes a speeding fine matter if I’ve a clean licence? Well, apart from the fine it can have a bigger effect than you thought if you only passed your test in the last 2 years. If you’re still on a provisional licence courts may take an even dimmer view

If you’ve passed your test fairly recently you will want to keep your new licence shiny and clean as long as possible. Fairly clearly, not breaking the speed limit is a very good start but that’s not always as easy as it sounds. If you drive a car or motorcycle we’re all familiar with the speed limits of 30 mph in a built up area, 60 on single carriageways and 70 on dual carriageways and motorways. If you’re towing a caravan or trailer you can take off 10 mph from each limit over 30. What often catches drivers out though are the local limits that are imposed on stretches of road by specific signs. Repeater signs are not always used or not used very frequently so can be easy to miss.

If you are accused of speeding, the best outcome is that the police decide to let you off with a warning. Abdul Ali of DFR Solicitors said “How you come across to the police can have a significant impact on this so think and act carefully if you are stopped.” If, however, the charge is pursued and you are found guilty you will face a minimum penalty of a £100 fine (up from its previous £60) and 3 penalty points added to your licence. Any penalty points or endorsements must stay on your driving licence for 4 years, (possibly 11 depending on the offence).

The fine itself is not a cheap impact, however, it may end up being a lot worse than this over the coming years.

Even without picking up further penalty points you can find you are out of pocket more than the £100 fine. Insurance companies in the past tended to generally ignore the first 3 or 6 penalty points but they are now starting to pay attention to any penalty points picked up by younger and newer drivers. This means that at your next renewal, and renewals for the following 3 years, you can find that you’re paying a premium to the insurance companies for that one offence. This can easily add up to 4 times the initial fine.

According to “If you only recently passed your driving test – within the last 2 years, your driving licence will be revoked (withdrawn) if you build up 6 or more penalty points rather than the normal 12 for more for more experienced drivers.” So just a single 3 pointer has already taken you halfway there.

If you’ve picked up penalty points on a provisional licence any that haven’t expired when you do pass your test will be carried over to your full licence. The same rules then apply as above – if you reach 6 points within 2 years of passing you’ll lose your licence.

All this means that it makes a lot of sense to engage specialist legal advice if you’ve only passed your test within the last 2 years, even though it’s “just” a first offence. Specialist solicitors will work hard to ensure you aren’t found guilty in the first place. If it looks as though you will be found guilty, as a very useful alternative they can often make a reasoned argument for you to take up a specific driver training course instead. All this can save you much bigger costs and problems ahead.

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