Let's talk about driving licence penalty points

Let's talk about driving licence penalty points

29 June 2021 | Kate Kozlowska | 12 min read

Certain rules apply to road users to ensure their safety and the safety of others. If you're breaking those rules, you're committing a motoring offence. Ignored a red light rushing to work this morning, going over the speed limit to get home quicker? Did you drive from the pub after having few beers with your friends while watching the Euro? In each case, you broke the law, and if you got caught, you most likely ended up with points on your driving licence (also known as licence endorsements).

Everything you need to know about penalty points on driving licence 

Penalty points are applied to your driving record and can hurt you more than you may realise. Licence endorsements (licence points) can affect your entitlement to drive. Making finding insurance more difficult (and more expensive!) and can even affect your job applications, too. So what now? Let's see some answers.

How many penalty points can you get on a UK driving licence?

Each motoring offence committed in the UK has a special code and is given penalty points on a scale from 1 to 11. The more serious the crime - the more points you get.

How long do penalty points stay on your licence?

Offence codes and penalty points will stay on your licence for 4 years. Still, more serious offences will only be removed after 11 years.

What can you get points on driving licence for?

There are lots of different motoring offences that can result in getting points on your driving licence. These offences have been placed in various categories, given different codes and the minimum and maximum points you can get for committing them. When you get caught committing any of these offences, authorities will then decide how many points you should receive based on the following guidelines:

  • Accident offences - these include failing to stop after the accident or to report the accident within 24h and can get you 4 to 10 points which will stay on your licence for 4 years.
  • Disqualified driver - getting caught attempting to drive or driving while disqualified by court order will lead to 6 penalty points showing on your records for 4 years.
  • Careless driving - driving without due care, attention or consideration for other road users scores your driving licence between 3 and 9 penalty points for 4 years. When careless and inconsiderate driving as well as driving uninsured, without the licence or while disqualified results in someone's death, you will get 4 years of 3 to 11 points on your licence. Which is the same as the penalty points for causing death through driving without care and consideration under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Still, this time the points will stay on your licence for 11 years.
  • Construction and use offences - these codes must remain on a driving record for 4 years from the date of the offence and can get you 3 to 6 points for violations related to driving a vehicle that isn't safe to be on the road (i.e. with faulty brakes, steering wheel etc.) as well as lack of the control of the vehicle (i.e. using the mobile phone while driving)
  • Reckless or dangerous driving - if you are convicted of dangerous driving, including causing injury or death by dangerous driving, you will receive 3 to 11 points on your driving licence. Which will stay on your record for 4 years.
  • Drinking - attempting to drive under the influence or refusing a blood test for alcohol in your system will result in a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 11 points. If you're in charge of the vehicle while above the allowed alcohol limit, you're unfit due to alcohol or refuse to provide a specimen for testing. Be prepared to score 10 points and 4 years for these offences to be visible on your licence.
  • Drugs - driving or attempting to drive while unfit due to drugs or causing death while driving under the influence of drugs. Will give you between 3 and 11 penalty points on your driving licence recorded for 11 years. If you're in charge of the vehicle while above the drugs limit or if you fail to cooperate with the testing, you can expect 4 to 10 points and a 4-year record.
  • Insurance offences- driving a vehicle without third party insurance means 6 to 8 points recorded for 4 years.
  • Licence offences - any offences related to the driving licence itself will get you 3 to 6 penalty points showing on your licence for 4 years. These offences include:
    • anything that's been hidden to obtain a licence (i.e. disability)
    • driving with a refused licence (i.e. due to a medical condition) 
    • driving a vehicle of a category that's not included on your licence.
  • Motorway offences - breaking special roads regulations (doesn't include the speed limits) gets you 3 driving penalty points for 4 years.
  • Pedestrian crossings - regardless of moving or being stationary, contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations scores 3 points on your driving licence, visible for 4 years.
  • Speed limits - if you exceed the speed limit, you can count on 3 to 6 points and a 4-year record on your driving licence.
  • Traffic direction and signs -  failing to comply with road signs, markings, and lights will lead to 3 penalty points which must stay on your licence for 4 years.

How are penalty points shown on a driving licence?

The national database will store the endorsement (entry on your driving licence record). It will display the type of offence you've been convicted of, the date of the offence and the date of conviction.

How many driving licence points can you have before getting banned from driving?

You will be disqualified from driving under the 'totting-up code (TT99)' if the total of penalty points on your driving licence reaches 12 or more within 3 years. 

How long will you be banned from driving when you maximise the penalty points on your driving licence?

The court will decide this, but the average driving ban time is usually 6 months. However, if you get a second driving ban within 3 years, the courts will double the ban. Get another disqualification within another 3 years, and you won't be allowed to drive for 2 years and so on.

Will you need to retake the driving test after getting a driving ban due to penalty points?

The court will decide if you need to retake your test to get back on the road when the ban ends, but it's very common for bans longer than 56 days. At the very least, you'll have to apply for a new licence after a six-month ban via the points system.

How many points can you get on your licence as a new driver?

The law is more strict for new drivers. If you passed your test 2 years ago or less, you can only have a record of 6 penalty points before your licence gets revoked. You'll then have to apply for a provisional licence and pass both theory and practical drivings tests to get a full licence again.

What happens with the penalty points on a provisional driving licence?

All penalty points that you receive on your provisional licence will be transferred to your full licence once you receive it. You need to remember that the limit of 6 points within the first 2 years of passing your driving test still applies.

Check how many points are on your driving licence

Checking your driving record and how many points you have on your licence is easy. Just click the button below.

Check your driving licence information

How to remove penalty points from a driving licence?

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to remove the penalty points from your driving record. The removal of the points will be automatic when they expire. The removal happens after 4 or 11 years, depending on the motoring offence you were convicted of.

Insuring a vehicle with penalty points on your driving licence

As we mentioned above, points on your driving licence will make insuring your vehicle a bit more complicated. You must tell your insurance company about any motor convictions. Failure to do so will result in your insurance being invalid, which means that you'll be committing another offence by driving a vehicle without valid insurance and risking getting even more penalty points. Not to mention that if you have an accident - you are not covered. It won't matter that you paid your insurance premiums in full or pay your monthly insurance instalments as per the agreement.

Motoring offences will most likely increase your premiums, even if you didn't get any points on your driving licence.

What can you do when you're issued with a driving penalty?

If you receive a penalty, seek legal help as soon as possible. People often accept penalties without putting their case forward, while many don't know the law and their rights. It's always worth asking a specialist.

If you have more questions about driving offences or licence points, let us know, and we'll get straight back to you with an answer.

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