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“I was recently represented by Kang & Co Solicitors for a drink driving charge. From the initial telephone call it was clear that Kang & Co were experts in this field. They provided sound advice and diligently guided me through the process leading up to the court case. Through their legal representation I was able to avoid a community order and receive the best possible outcome for my case .”

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Kang & Co Solicitors is a truly specialist high-end law firm providing legal advice and representation for all matters involving Criminal Law and Driving Offences. We are ranked as a top tier law firm by The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partner’s prestigous law guides.

Our head office is located at 1 Victoria Square in Birmingham City Centre and we offer our services throughout England and Wales on a private fee-paying basis. We also have an office at 330 High Holborn in London and another office in central Milton Keynes. We are frequently instructed by individuals and businesses nationwide.

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Birmingham Office

1 Victoria Square
Birmingham
West Midlands
B1 1BD

330 High Holborn Kang and Co Solicitors London

London Office

330 High Holborn
Holborn
London
WC2A 1HL

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Milton Keynes Office

The Pinnacle
Midsummer Boulevard
Milton Keynes
MK9 1BP

Business Hours

Monday – Friday
09:00 – 17:00
Weekends/Bank Holidays
Closed

Meetings at our offices are by Appointment Only

Can Speeding be Classed as Dangerous Driving?

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Articles, Driving Offence Advice

It should be of no dispute that the consequences of speeding can be severe, ranging from increased stopping distances and reduced control over the vehicle to a higher likelihood of collisions.

In the United Kingdom, if a driver is caught speeding, the usual penalties for this offence will include the following:

  • An opportunity to attend a speed awareness course
  • A fixed penalty of 3 points and a £100 fine
  • A Court summons to attend a hearing at the Magistrates’ Court and up to 6 penalty points or a ban of up to 56 days and a fine of up to £1000 (or £2500 if speeding on the motorway).

In circumstances where an individual receives a summons, The Sentencing Council provides the Court with sentencing guidelines for the ‘standard’ speeding offence specifying the various penalties the Court can impose on those who are convicted for exceeding the speed limit.

The likely punishment will vary depending on the level of speed and how excessive the offence of speeding is in any given case, among other factors.

Below is the sentencing guidelines table for speeding: 

Speed Limit (MPH)
20
30
40
50
60
70
SENTENCING RANGE
POINTS / DISQUALIFICATION
Recorded Speed (MPH)
41 and above
51 and above
66 and above
76 and above
91 and above
101 and above
BAND C FINE
Disqualify 7 – 56 days OR 6 points
Recorded Speed (MPH)
31 – 40
41 – 50
56 – 65
66 – 75
81 – 90
91 – 100
BAND B FINE
Disqualify 7 – 28 days OR 4 – 6 points
Recorded Speed (MPH)
21 – 30
31 – 40
41 – 55
51 – 65
61 – 80
71 – 90
BAND A FINE
3 points

For example, a driver who is convicted for an offence of speeding between 71-90mph in a 70mph speed limit zone is likely to receive 3 penalty points and a Band A fine which is a low-level fine based on 50% of their weekly income. On the contrary, a driver who is convicted of speeding around 101-110mph in the same 70 limit can expect to receive a medium-level fine and either up to 56 days disqualification, or 6 penalty points. 

However, in circumstances where the level of speed is grossly in excess of the speed limit, the Sentencing Council provides the Court with guidelines, to consider a disqualification in excess of 56 days. This then poses the question; can the level of speed be considered as “Dangerous Driving”?

The simple answer is yes. Speeding in the United Kingdom can indeed potentially be classified as dangerous driving, as it poses significant risks to road safety.

There is a common assumption that to be charged with an offence of dangerous driving, an individual will have partaken in conducting risky manoeuvres such as driving on the wrong side of the road or overtaking other road users on blind bends.

There is also a presumed notion that to be charged with dangerous driving, an accident or injury must have occurred. However, this is not the case; Exceeding the speed limit not only violates traffic violations but also endangers lives, The speed limits set on roads are designed to ensure the safety of all road users, accounting for factors such as visibility, road conditions and potential hazards. By disregarding these limits, drivers increase the likelihood of accidents and reduce their ability to react to unexpected situations.

Moreover, speeding contributes significantly to road fatalities and injuries. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) reports that speed is a contributory factor in around one-third of fatal crashes. Recognising the dangers, UK law enforcement employs various measures such as speed cameras, mobile speed enforcement units and traffic police to monitor and penalise speeding motorists.

Owing to this, a charge for dangerous driving can therefore be laid in cases where the only dangerous factor is the speed.

According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, dangerous driving includes any conduct that falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and would be obvious to a competent and careful driver as dangerous. Speeding is therefore a common factor which contributes to this classification.

Where the level of speed is excessive, the Crown Prosecution Service can consider laying an additional or alternative charge of dangerous driving.

 

What is The Test for Dangerous Driving?

The test for dangerous driving is, whether a person’s standard of driving has fallen far below the standard of a competent driver, in addition, whether it would be obvious to a competent driver that the person’s manner of driving would be dangerous is also considered by the Court.

Legislation also provides guidance under section 7 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 making it an offence to drive a motor vehicle furiously, recklessly, or at a speed or in a way that is dangerous to the public.

Section 7A also states circumstances of aggravation that increase the seriousness of the offence of dangerous driving.

The circumstances of aggravation are as follows:

  • Failing to comply, as soon as practicable, with a request or signal given by a police officer to stop the motor vehicle;
  • Driving with the prescribed concentration of alcohol in blood or breath;
  • Driving with a prescribed drug in oral fluid or blood;
  • Driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle;
  • Driving at a speed that exceeded the speed limit by more than 30%;
  • Driving in a way that puts at risk the safety of a “vulnerable road user”, which includes pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, riders of animals and the users of motorised scooters and Segways;
  • Driving with a person younger than 17 years old in the vehicle;
  • The driver was a repeat offender.

In order for the offence of dangerous driving to be proved, the prosecution must prove the following and the Court must also find beyond reasonable doubt the driver in question conducted the following behaviours:

  • Driving a motor vehicle on a road or road-related area;
  • And the manner of the driving was either:
  •  Furious;
  • Reckless;
  • Dangerous to the public; or
  • At a speed dangerous to the public

The factor, “at a speed dangerous to the public,” will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the Court and in circumstances where the Court decides whether the driving fell far below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver, it will look at the circumstances surrounding the speeding as well as the speeding itself.  As a result, the Court may consider that, on the facts of a particular case the standard of driving was dangerous. And if such a finding is made the penalties as a result of a conviction are considerably severe as opposed to the sentencing available for a matter of speeding.

 

Consequences and Penalties for Dangerous Driving

The legal consequences and penalties of a conviction for dangerous driving when speed is the only dangerous factor are more far-reaching than for speeding itself and include:

  • A mandatory minimum 12-month disqualification from driving;
  • An extended re-test;
  • An unlimited fine;
  • Community service or a prison sentence.

In addition, dangerous driving is an “either-way” offence, which means that the case could be tried either in a Magistrates’ Court or in a Crown Court. Depending on the seriousness of the offence and the length of any potential sentence imposed, the case can be sent to the Crown Court if the Magistrates feel their sentencing powers are insufficient for the nature of the offence.

The sentence range for the offence of dangerous driving therefore ranges from a low-level community order to at most, a 2-year (prison) custodial sentence.

To conclude, speeding can potentially amount to dangerous driving in the UK, as it jeopardises the well–being of road users and undermines the principles of responsible and safe driving. The strict enforcement of speed limits, coupled with educational initiatives, plays a crucial role in curbing this hazardous behaviour on the roads. Suppose you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being charged with an offence of speeding or dangerous driving it is essential. In that case, you contact a motoring law expert as soon as possible to guide you through the process and provide you with sound representation in Court to ensure you receive a fair and just outcome. The consequences of such offences can have a profound effect on your personal life and career, it is therefore not worth the risk to represent yourself without the advice from an expert lawyer within this particular field of law.

Do you require legal advice &/or representation?

If you are facing a driving offence prosecution and require expert legal representation at Court, call our lawyers on 0330 818 9843 or complete our Contact Form.

Can speeding be classed as dangerous driving in the UK, driving offence legal article England and Wales

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