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Motorists fined for going 1mph over the speed limit

Added: 12 February 2018

New speed cameras on the M1 will catch motorists going just 1mph over the speed limit. Here’s what it means for UK drivers.

In an attempt to reduce the number of crashes and improve on the M1, the new speed cameras on the smart motorway will be permanently switched on.

The new initiative has been introduced to “catch speeders” – even those going just 1mph over the speed limit. They will also snap drivers travelling over the speed limit on clear stretches of road or on the hard shoulder outside of peak driving hours, as well as drivers breaking variable speed limits flashed on overhead gantries.

That means motorists could now be fined for going 71mph on the M1.

Speeding enforcement in the UK

Every driver has passed a driving theory test and therefore knows how fast they can legally drive.

How speed limits are enforced, however, is usually up to individual forces. The general rule of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) is to only take enforcement action against drivers exceeding the speed limit by 10% + 2mph – something all UK motorists have become accustomed too.

That doesn’t mean you can ‘legally’ exceed the speed limit, but it does mean that in a 70mph zone, motorists can drive up to 79mph without being pulled over. On a 30mph road, you can expect to drive up to 5mph over the speed limit without being given a fine.

Fines for driving 71mph?

Unlike most police officers, the new cameras on the M1 won’t allow any room for error.

Every driver knows how easy it is to accidently go 1mph over the limit, especially if the road is bumpy or uneven, but the new speed cameras won’t allow even a small buffer for marginal error.  

The minimum penalty for speeding in the UK is £100 and 3 points on your licence, and drivers could now be fined for travelling just 1mph over the speed limit.

Worryingly, a car’s speedometer isn’t always accurate and can be up to 2mph out. This means you could be driving 72mph even if your speedometer tells you you’re driving within the speed limit.  Under the 10% + 2mph rule, you have nothing to worry about. Given the inaccuracy, however, you’d have to drive 68mph to be sure you won’t get caught out by a speed camera that penalises motorists driving at 71mph.

Britain’s most profitable stretch of road

The Derby stretch of the M1 – between Tibshelf services and junction 29A at Duckmanton – was named the most profitable stretch of UK road in 2017. Between four cameras, over 8000 drivers were snapped for speeding last year.

Smart motorways are operated by government-owned Highways England and money collected from speeding fines goes to the Treasury.

Other motorways being converted into smart motorways include stretches on the M3, M4, M5, M6, M25, and M42. There have been rumours that the same strict speeding limits could be applied to these stretches of road, too, but there is no official confirmation yet.

Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with news on smart motorway developments. 

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