Speeding and traffic light offences, restricted turn, no entry and box junction contraventions
Fixed Penalty Notices were introduced more than 50 years ago initially for the Police and Traffic Wardens to deal with minor parking and motoring offences.
The use of FPNs has been extended over the years and they are now also used for a wide range of anti-social behaviour offences, public disorder offences and environmental offences such as littering.
Parking and, in London, many moving traffic offences have largely been decriminalised and are now mostly dealt with as a civil matter by local authority Civil Enforcement Officers who issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).
For drivers, FPNs are widely used to enforce 'moving traffic offences' such as speeding and traffic light offences, restricted turn, no entry and box junction contraventions.
Fixed Penalty Notices are also used to enforce parking restrictions where parking enforcement has not been decriminalised as well as for parking offences on red routes and zig zags.
A fixed penalty notice is a conditional offer – you can accept guilt, pay the fine, take the points and the matter will be closed, or you can reject the offer in which case you will be summonsed to appear in court.
Unlike Penalty Charge Notices for which regulations make provision for both informal and formal appeals, there are no formal grounds for appeal in the case of a Fixed Penalty Notice.
If you pay the fine within 28 days then the enforcement authority will take no further action and will not pursue prosecution, but if you don't agree that you committed the offence then your only option is to request a court hearing.
Bear in mind, if considering going to court over a Fixed Penalty Notice, that the fines that can be imposed by the courts if you are found guilty are much greater than the original fixed penalty.
Your local Police or local authority website will carry more detailed information specific to the area in which the offence was committed.
(Effective from 16 August 2013)
The police get new powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving offences which have previously only been dealt with in court. This gives them greater flexibility to deal with less serious offences like tailgating and middle lane hogging. The police will be able to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement and drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court.
(updated 28 September 2015)