Speeding while overtaking

Q: I was driving on a single-carriageway road with a tractor and van ahead.

The van overtook the tractor and so did I, but when the van pulled back in he left me no room, so I had to get past him too.

On the opposite side of the road was a police bike; as soon as I noticed him I reduced my speed.

He pulled me over saying he’d caught me doing 60mph in a 40mph zone. I didn’t argue at the time but he didn’t show any proof and I just took his word for it.

I was given a fixed penalty notice with three points but I think I’d like to take this to court as the van also overtook and to stay safe I had to get back into my lane if there was no room.

I currently have six points and if I was to take these I would be on 9; I dont want to be in this position. While I understand I was speeding, I had no choice to get back into my lane. Can I plead for a fine instead of the points?

The police often teach people they can speed to overtake – that’s bad advice

A: The court will say you shouldn’t have tried to overtake if it necessitated speeding. The police often teach people they can speed to overtake - that's bad advice.

If you contest this and reject the fixed penalty ticket you could get another six points and a six-month ban, as the magistrates guidelines are less tolerant than the fixed penalty system; the guideline for that speed is 4-6 points.

If you accept the speed alleged you are best off taking the ticket I'm afraid. The problem that you face is that speeding is strict liability. So why you did it is irrelevant. The only defence is casting a doubt on the alleged speed. The only other option would be special reasons, such as doing it to get out of a risky situation.

Special reasons is about not having any alternative. It’s likely that the magistrates would take the view that you had the choice not to overtake; this is what created the risky situation rather than something outside of your control.


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FirstCar's legal expert is Emma Patterson, who runs Patterson Law, which specialises in motoring cases. If you've got a legal question, email us at info@firstcar.co.uk and we'll get Patterson Law to answer it for you. If you need the advice or representation of a great motoring lawyer, you can contact Emma or one of her colleagues, through her website.