Speeding fines – does the 10% rule really apply or is this an urban myth?

speeding rules

You often hear motorists talk with real confidence and authority about the ‘10% rule’ when it comes to obeying the speed limit. It seems to have become motoring gospel that you have got a bit of leeway when it comes to speeding rules, due to the accuracy of the recording device. The 10% rule would mean that whatever the speed limit is, you are able to exceed it by 10% and not receive a fine. So, in a 30 MPH zone, 33 MPH shouldn’t land you with a fine, and in a 50 MPH zone, 55 shouldn’t, and so on. But just how much truth is there in this?

According to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), there is likely to be some truth to it, but the 10% rule is not something that if officially recognised. It is more like a rule of thumb rather than an actual rule: “the 10 per cent rule is allowed in guidance but it is not part of legislation”.

Ultimately, the decision lies with the police enforcement officers

The accuracy of the recording device is certainly one reason why there is a slight amount of wiggle room in the speed you have been recorded at. There is also the human element – the responsibility of the police offer to decide whether or not to stop you for speeding. This is likely to be based upon the level of danger posed by the speed you were travelling at. An example of this could be that if you’re travelling at 75 MPH rather than 70 MPH, one could argue there would be very little difference in the outcome of an accident. However, if you came into contact with a pedestrian whilst travelling at 35 MPH rather than 30 MPH this could be the difference between life and death.

Speed limits are set for a good reason

All things considered, while understanding whether or not there is a 10% rule or not is interesting, the most important thing to remember is that speeding rules are defined and set for public safety. They are there to keep drivers and pedestrians safe so we should be adhering to them no matter what, not trying to work out whether or not we can ‘get away’ with travelling a little bit faster than the signs suggest.