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The speed limit is the absolute maximum – it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive at this speed in all conditions. Always be aware of the speed limits on your journey. It has been illegal to hold and use your phone while driving since 2003. In 2017 tougher penalties were introduced for motorists caught using a phone behind the wheel. Read on to find out the latest advice for drivers.

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Illegal or inappropriate speeding is the single biggest factor in fatal road collisions, which is why we take action against drivers who ignore the limits.

  • The speed limit is a limit and not a target
  • Consider the consequences of causing an accident due to driving at excessive speed
  • Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road collisions


Speeding fines are now broken into bands as follows

Band C speeding fine

Anyone speeding at 51mph or above in a 30mph limit - for example - faces a fine equivalent to 150% of their weekly income, and 6 penalty points on their driving licence, or disqualification from driving for up to 56 days. If you’re disqualified for 56 days or more, you must apply for a new licence before you're able to start driving again.

For anyone earning £25,000 a year, a speeding fine equivalent to 150% of their weekly income means handing over a minimum of £720 - no small amount.

Band B speeding fine You might receive a Band B speeding fine for doing between 41-50mph in a 30mph limit, in which case you'd face a fine equivalent to 100% of your weekly income (£480), and 4 penalty points on your driving licence, or disqualification from driving for up to 28 days.
Band A speeding fine A Band A speeding fine would be appropriate if you are caught speeding between 31-40 in a 30mph zone, and you can expect to receive a fine equivalent to 50% of your weekly income (£240), and 3 penalty points on your driving licence.



When will a speeding offence lead to a driving ban?

There are two circumstances which could result in a driving ban. Firstly, for repeat offenders, a ban will be imposed if 12 points are reached within 3 years. Additionally, some offences will carry an instant ban, depending on the exact circumstances and the speed alleged.


You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if you use a hand-held phone when driving. You will also lose your licence if you passed your driving test in the last 2 years.

You can get 3 penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle.

You can also be taken to court where you can be banned from driving or riding. You can get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus).

How long do penalty points last?

Points can stay on a driving licence for four years form the date of the offence, although they are only active for three years. For more serious driving offences, penalty points will stay on a licence for 11 years and are active for 10 of those years. Having points on your licence can dramatically increase your insurance for your vehicle.

Can I use the satnav on my phone whilst driving?

You can use your phone as a sat nav, but you can not touch it or reprogramme it while driving. Using a sat nav while driving can be a factored in a careless or dangerous driving charge if it distracts you.

Can I use hands-free while driving in the UK?

The law currently states drivers can use hands-free phones, sat navs and two-way radios, but if the driver is distracted and not in control of the vehicle they could be penalised.

Report dangerous driving – Operation Dragoon

Northumbria Police’s Operation Dragoon is a dedicated team of officers who identify and target those who present the biggest risk to the public on our roads. Whether through dangerous driving, drink and drug driving or driving whilst disqualified, we will not tolerate those who put others at risk.

To report dangerous drivers please contact us. We ask for a full vehicle registration, colour, make and model of the vehicle, time of sighting and direction of travel. The information may be passed to our officers at Operation Dragoon. Follow the team on Twitter @OpDragoon

Mobile phones and other devices

Any time a driver’s attention is not on the road is dangerous. Research shows you are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone. Your reaction times are twice as slow if you text and drive than if you drink drive, and this increases to three times if you use a handheld phone. Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – a slip second lapse in concentration could end lives. Don’t do it.

It is illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while driving or riding a motorcycle. You must have hands-free access, such as:

  • A Bluetooth headset
  • Voice command
  • A dashboard holder or mat
  • A windscreen mount
  • A built-in sat nav

The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.

You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. A police officer can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted and you can be prosecuted.

The law still applies to you if you’re:

  • Stopped at traffic lights
  • Queuing in traffic
  • Supervising a learner driver

Where can I ride my off-road bike?

On any land, where the land owner has given you permission to do so

  • Byways Open To All Traffic (BOATS), as long as there is no Traffic Regulation Order (TRO)
  • If your vehicle is road legal (has number plates) and you have tax, insurance and a driving licence, then you can legally ride it on the road (or green lanes that are classified as roads) 

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