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Variable Smart Motorway speeding ticket.


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Hi all, I wonder if you can help me.


I have received a speeding ticket saying I was caught speeding at 74mph in a variable speed zone reduced to 40mph.  


I was travelling on the M69 junction 7-8 With my wife and child, I’m always a careful driver and my wife normally spots reduced speeds if I haven’t and says slow down.


None of us have seen any changes on the gantry, no traffic built up and no lane closures, the road is clear.


I have signed to say it was me driving but 4 weeks later no penalty notice yet to tell me my fate.


I have done the same journey again weeks later and the same spot the speed was reduced to 40mph again but this time major traffic.


I can understand the 40 mph on this occasion but nothing like this on my first trip.


Could you give me an idea as to what I should expect as a fine etc please.


I did write a letter explaining the above and have a clear licence but I presume this will have no affect.


Thanks all. 

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There was a case some years ago where someone who was 'caught' speeding whilst speed restrictions were in force challenged the ticket in court and won. His argument was that there was no need for the restriction as the road was clear and traffic was light. This happened on the M4 near to Heathrow.

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I find it very hard to believe that the argument "...that there was no need for the restriction as the road was clear and traffic was light..." would be successful as a defence today.  (I'm surprised it's ever been a defence actually).


You cover a lot of ground very quickly at 70+mph and traffic and road conditions can also change very quickly.  A clear road and light traffic is no justification for exceeding a posted speed limit when you cannot be certain what is ahead of you.


In fact, I think any argument that you thought it was ok to exceed the national speed limit (never mind 40mph) because of the prevailing road conditions is likely to see you convicted immediately!


I don't suppose you asked for photos to "help identify the driver" before returning your NIP declaration?  Usually the photos would show your car and the speed limit.


If you were travelling at 74 in a 40 I suspect the next step will be a Single Justice Procedure Note asking you how you want to plead.  Come back here for advice once you receive it.  (They have up to six months after the offence date to start court proceedings and they often take that long to do do).

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Yes Manxman has covered most of the ground. 


All I would add is that I am surprised to hear of the successful challenge mentioned. I am not aware of it and whilst I'm not saying it didn't happen, I have heard of most such "milestone" cases and I definitely have not heard of that one. You should bear in mind that if it was successful in either a Magistrates' Court (most unlikely) or on appeal to the Crown Court (slightly less unlikely) it does not set a precedent upon which you can rely. You can mention it but the court would not be duty bound to consider it. Only rulings in either the Court of Appeal or the High Court provide such precedents.


As far as the law goes, to rely on such a defence you would have to show that the imposition of the lower limit was unlawful rather than simply unreasonable. You may have difficulty doing so.


Looking a bit wider, it is a pity that you did not ask for the photographs as mentioned; it would have at least ruled in or out one potential problem. When you get your SJPN you should be served with an evidence pack. This will provide you with the evidence the police intend to rely on to convict you and should show evidence of the reduced limit.


If you are convicted of doing 73 in a 40 limit you face a fine of a week and a half's net income (reduced by a third if you plead guilty), a surcharge of 10% of the fine (Minimum £34) and prosecution costs (£85 if you plead guilty and probably £620 if you are found guilty following a trial). You will also face either a disqualification of up to 56 days or 6 points. With a clean record and particularly if you plead guilty, six points is a strong likelihood. Come back when you have your SJPN and evidence pack for more help. Just one last thing:


1 hour ago, Harryoscar said:

I shall take it as far as I can if need be. 


Be careful. This chap did the same:




Edited by Man in the middle
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