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[NIP Wizard] Exceeding a variable speed limit for an obstruction when the obstruction has been passed
tjlaw79
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 11:42
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NIP Details and Circumstances
What is the name of the Constabulary? -
Date of the offence: - May 2019
Date of the NIP: - 5 days after the offence
Date you received the NIP: - 9 days after the offence
Location of offence (exact location as it appears on the NIP: important): - M25 Anti-Clockwise Clacket Lane Services to Junction 5-4310B-50mph
Was the NIP addressed to you? - Yes
Was the NIP sent by first class post, second class or recorded delivery? - Not known
If your are not the Registered Keeper, what is your relationship to the vehicle? -
How many current points do you have? - 3
Provide a description of events (if you know what happened) telling us as much about the incident as possible - some things that may seem trivial to you may be important, so don't leave anything out. Please do not post personal details for obvious reasons - I was driving home from Gatwick Airport in the early hours of the morning, the road was empty. A variable speed limit of 50 mph was in place with the signs displaying 'Reported Obstruction' I drove for a couple of miles at this limit until passing a large animal in the centre lane. Despite having cleared the obstruction the 50mph zone continued for a long time afterwards. I continued at within the 50mph speed limit for another couple of miles until it was obvious that I had passed the obstruction and there were no further obstructions, at which point I increased my speed to 69mph which is within the normal speed limit for the road, which is when the speed camera flashed and I received the subsequent NIP. Would be grateful for any help on this.

NIP Wizard Responses
These were the responses used by the Wizard to arrive at its recommendation:
Have you received a NIP? - Yes
Are you the Registered Keeper of the vehicle concerned (is your name and address on the V5/V5C)? - Yes
Did the first NIP arrive within 14 days? - Yes
Although you are the Registered Keeper, were you also the keeper of the vehicle concerned (the person normally responsible for it) at the time of the alleged offence? - Yes
Were you driving? - Yes
Which country did the alleged offence take place in? - England

NIP Wizard Recommendation
Based on these responses the Wizard suggested that this course of action should be considered:
  • The law requires you to provide the information requested in the Section 172 notice within the 28 day period, naming yourself as the driver. If you are considering obtaining formal legal advice, do so before returning the notice.

    You should note that there is nothing to be gained by responding any earlier than you have to at any stage of the process. You are likely to receive a Conditional Offer of a Fixed Penalty (COFP) and further reminder(s). If you want to continue the fight, you should ignore all correspondence from the police until you receive a summons. You need to understand from the outset that while you will receive much help and support from members on the forums, you will need to put time and effort into fighting your case and ultimately be prepared to stand up in court to defend yourself.

Generated by the PePiPoo NIP Wizard v3.3.2: Tue, 13 Aug 2019 11:42:57 +0000
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post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 11:42
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Jlc
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 12:18
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QUOTE (tjlaw79 @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 12:42) *
Would be grateful for any help on this.

You'll get a fixed penalty offer (3 points £100).

I presume you decided to 'ignore' the prevailing limit?

This post has been edited by Jlc: Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 12:19


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RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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The Rookie
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 12:29
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Your description doesn’t provide a defence I’m afraid.


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Logician
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 18:21
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If the 50mph limit continued to be displayed on the overhead gantries, then that was the speed limit and there is no defence. More difficult are the occasions when the limit ceases to be displayed but there has been no NSL sign, but from your description that was not the case with you.


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Charlie1010
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 18:51
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There may have been another obstruction.
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cp8759
post Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 19:20
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QUOTE (Logician @ Tue, 13 Aug 2019 - 19:21) *
If the 50mph limit continued to be displayed on the overhead gantries, then that was the speed limit and there is no defence. More difficult are the occasions when the limit ceases to be displayed but there has been no NSL sign, but from your description that was not the case with you.

In the second scenario the lower limit remains until you pass a junction, at least until the distance is so significant the "adequate guidance" argument can be made.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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TonyS
post Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 08:24
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Not sure what relevance a junction has, that doesn't inherently change the speed limit does it?
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cp8759
post Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 08:36
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QUOTE (TonyS @ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 09:24) *
Not sure what relevance a junction has, that doesn't inherently change the speed limit does it?

If traffic joining the junction isn't presented with any signs, the drivers coming from the junction would assume the national speed limit applies. Drivers of the same category of vehicle (i.e. cars) on the same stretch of road cannot reasonably be subject to different speed limits depending on which direction they came from. So if the NSL applies to motorists joining the motorway at a junction, it must apply to all motorists going past the junction.

The CPS would never in a million years prosecute this scenario, but even if they did, how would they prove that you didn't join the motorway at the junction, and therefore never passed any VSL signs?

Without such proof, you could make a submission of no case to answer.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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TonyS
post Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 09:45
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Cheers. It seems like you're making the case not that the limit would no longer apply if the OP had passed a junction, but that it wouldn't apply to traffic joining at that junction. Even if there was such a junction, the OP can't claim that he'd joined the motorway at that point firstly because it's not true and secondly because it would make a nonsense of his report that he had seen the reduced limit and thought he'd passed the obstruction.
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cp8759
post Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 10:26
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QUOTE (TonyS @ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 10:45) *
Cheers. It seems like you're making the case not that the limit would no longer apply if the OP had passed a junction, but that it wouldn't apply to traffic joining at that junction. Even if there was such a junction, the OP can't claim that he'd joined the motorway at that point firstly because it's not true and secondly because it would make a nonsense of his report that he had seen the reduced limit and thought he'd passed the obstruction.

The reference to a junction was not specific to this case, I was simply illustrating a scenario where the lower limit cannot be enforced even though an NSL sign has not been passed.

It is correct that the OP had passed a junction, and no VSL signs were visible to traffic passing the junction, the OP could not be prosecuted. It cannot be right that two drivers driving along the same stretch of motorway are subject to different speed limits depending on which direction they came from, so the higher limit must apply to both.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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southpaw82
post Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 10:43
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 11:26) *
It is correct that the OP had passed a junction, and no VSL signs were visible to traffic passing the junction, the OP could not be prosecuted. It cannot be right that two drivers driving along the same stretch of motorway are subject to different speed limits depending on which direction they came from, so the higher limit must apply to both.

Isn’t that akin to the “envelope defence” that was rejected by the High Court (Jones v DPP?)?

This post has been edited by southpaw82: Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 10:49


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cp8759
post Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 11:20
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 11:43) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 11:26) *
It is correct that the OP had passed a junction, and no VSL signs were visible to traffic passing the junction, the OP could not be prosecuted. It cannot be right that two drivers driving along the same stretch of motorway are subject to different speed limits depending on which direction they came from, so the higher limit must apply to both.

Isn’t that akin to the “envelope defence” that was rejected by the High Court (Jones v DPP?)?

I don't see how, in Jones v DPP it was not denied that the defendant had passed a number of repeater signs. The defendant was effectively trying to argue that the lack of illumination of the terminal signs made the entire speed limit unenforceable.

That is not the scenario we're dealing with here. It would clearly be absurd if I were on a motorway having past a 50 VLS sign and having not seen any signs at all for a while and upon approaching a junction I had to think to myself "well, if I leave the motorway and re-join, I can then to 70, but if I carry straight on I must continue to do 50".

It equally cannot be right that if I carry straight on I cannot exceed 50 mph, but a vehicle that has just joined the motorway can lawfully go past me at 70.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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southpaw82
post Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 12:23
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 12:20) *
It equally cannot be right that if I carry straight on I cannot exceed 50 mph, but a vehicle that has just joined the motorway can lawfully go past me at 70.

Hasn’t the High Court decided (in a different case, the name of which escapes me) that it’s ok for some drivers to have a defence to speeding if they joined a road without passing signs but other drivers, who did have adequate guidance, having no defence. Isn’t this akin to the envelope defence?


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cp8759
post Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 16:50
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 13:23) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Wed, 14 Aug 2019 - 12:20) *
It equally cannot be right that if I carry straight on I cannot exceed 50 mph, but a vehicle that has just joined the motorway can lawfully go past me at 70.

Hasn’t the High Court decided (in a different case, the name of which escapes me) that it’s ok for some drivers to have a defence to speeding if they joined a road without passing signs but other drivers, who did have adequate guidance, having no defence. Isn’t this akin to the envelope defence?

It depends on the circumstances.

The situation is materially different with VSL signs because they are, by their very nature, variable. When you join a motorway, you pass blue motorway signs that notify you that The Motorways Traffic (Speed Limit) Regulations 1974 have effect unless a lower speed is notified. If you're on the motorway already but you can see the VSL signs on the entry slip (which does happen at some junctions), you know that traffic joining the motorway is subject only to the 1974 regulations. You therefore know that if you had exited the motorway and then re-joined it immediately, you would be entitled to rely on the fact that you've joined the motorway and not seen any other signs and can therefore do 70 mph.

No court would convict you by saying "even if you left the motorway and re-joined it at same junction, you passed 50 mph signs several miles earlier so you knew a 50 mph limit was in force" because if nothing else at the roundabout (and assuming the roundabout itself is not part of the motorway) the VSL regulations ceased to apply.

If the VSL signs on the entry slip are visible from the main carriageway, for a court to say "if you had actually left the motorway, gone round the roundabout and re-joined the motorway immediately you would have been innocent, but because you remained on the main carriageway throughout you're guilty" would IMO be absurd.

In Jones, the defendant knew full well that the road was meant to be subject to a 50 mph limit and he was trying to rely on a technicality. That's quite different from a situation where the motorist cannot know that the 50 mph limit has't actually been lifted (for all he knows, the entire length of the motorway might be 70 mph by the time he passes the junction).


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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tjlaw79
post Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 07:57
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Thanks for your help with this one. I appreciate that ultimately I was exceeding the variable limit, but this was only once it was very clear that I had passed the obstruction. How long is reasonable to continue with a variable speed limit after the obstruction has been cleared? Also it seems very cynical to have adjusted the speed cameras to a variable speed limit which should only be in place as a temporary measure whilst the obstruction is cleared.

This post has been edited by tjlaw79: Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 08:26
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TryOut
post Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 08:38
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QUOTE (tjlaw79 @ Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 08:57) *
Thanks for your help with this one. I appreciate that ultimately I was exceeding the variable limit, but this was only once it was very clear that I had passed the obstruction. How long is reasonable to continue with a variable speed limit after the obstruction has been cleared? Also it seems very cynical to have adjusted the speed cameras to a variable speed limit which should only be in place as a temporary measure whilst the obstruction is cleared.

The limit stays in place until the NSL sign appears or the variable speed limit area ends.

Unfortunately there is no established mechanism to determine where obstructios will appear or vehicles will break down and stop on the motorway...unless you know of one perhaps. This is why the motorway control system will span the location and drivers are expected to comply with the signs. There may be a second obstruction of course, how would that pan out if drivers increased speed when they drove past incident 1?

There is no cynicism intended. You seem to appear victimised by the detection and penalty awarded for your own inappropriate actions. Now you will be better informed.

This post has been edited by TryOut: Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 08:38
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cp8759
post Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 17:06
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QUOTE (tjlaw79 @ Thu, 15 Aug 2019 - 08:57) *
Thanks for your help with this one. I appreciate that ultimately I was exceeding the variable limit, but this was only once it was very clear that I had passed the obstruction. How long is reasonable to continue with a variable speed limit after the obstruction has been cleared? Also it seems very cynical to have adjusted the speed cameras to a variable speed limit which should only be in place as a temporary measure whilst the obstruction is cleared.

You cannot attack the reasonableness of the speed limit at your criminal trial, as the Magistrates' Court doesn't really have jurisdiction over that. If you wanted to go down that route you'd need to seek a stay of the proceedings and then take a judicial review against Highways England in the High Court, basically to get the decision to impose the lower limit quashed. Based on what you've told us, the chances of this being successful are pretty much nil, and it could cost you tens of thousands in legal fees should you lose.

In summary, nothing you've told us amounts to a defence and your best bet is to take whatever out of court disposal they're willing to offer, as this will be by far the cheapest option.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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