When you’re found guilty of a motoring offence, you often receive both a fine and points on your licence. But how long will the points remain on your licence, and what are their potential consequences?
- How do I get penalty points on my driving licence?
- When will penalty points be removed from my licence?
- How much does it cost to have points removed from a driving licence?
- How could penalty points affect me?
- What does ‘totting up points’ mean?
- How many points can a new driver get?
- Can I avoid penalty points on my licence?
- Frequently asked questions
How do I get penalty points on my driving licence?
Penalty points are added to your driving licence when you breach certain traffic regulations. This can result from a range of motoring offences, from minor oversights to grave infringements.
For instance, if you’re detected speeding or participating in other minor traffic violations, you might be slapped with a fine and your licence could be endorsed with penalty points. Typically, lesser offences may lead to an imposition of at least three points.
However, a major violation, such as operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or being involved in an accident leading to fatalities due to reckless driving, can attract as many as 11 penalty points.
To keep track of the nature and severity of your offence, each violation is associated with a specific endorsement code. This code, alongside the number of penalty points, gets recorded on your driving history.
Depending on the type of offence, these points have a set duration for which they remain on your licence, influencing factors like insurance premiums and even your entitlement to drive.
How long do penalty points stay on my licence?
The duration for which penalty points stay on your licence depends heavily on the severity of the motoring offence. These points begin accruing either from the day of the offence itself or from the day the court pronounces you guilty.
For your convenience, the table below lays out some of the common driving offences, the potential penalty points they carry, and the length of time they remain on your driving record.
Duration of Points on Your Licence
|Offence||Penalty points||Years on licence|
|Running a red light||3||4|
|Using a mobile phone while driving||3-6||4|
|Failing to stop after an accident||5-10||4|
|Driving without car insurance||6-8||4|
|Driving while disqualified||6||4|
|Causing death by careless driving through alcohol or drugs||3-11||11|
With a four-year endorsement, the penalty points are active and relevant for the initial three years. While these points remain visible on your licence for an additional year, they no longer contribute to your total active point count.
However, should you commit another offence within this timeframe, courts will take these dormant points into consideration.
For an 11-year endorsement, the penalty points remain active for the predominant 10 years, only becoming dormant in the final year.
When does the endorsement start – from the date of the offence or the date of conviction?
- Offences pertaining to reckless or dangerous driving that lead to disqualification are marked on your driving record for four years from the day you’re convicted.
- For most other offences, a four-year endorsement gets registered from the date you commit the offence.
- The endorsements stay on your licence for a span of 11 years from the date of conviction for offences related to:
- Drink or drug driving, documented on the driving record as DR10, DR20, DR30, DR31, DR61, and DR80.
- Causing death due to careless driving while intoxicated, recorded as CD40, CD50, and CD60.
- Causing death by reckless driving and subsequently failing to provide a specimen for analysis, documented as CD70 on the driving record.
When will penalty points be removed from my licence?
Penalty points and their accompanying endorsement codes typically have a set duration for which they remain on your licence. Once this period finishes, they are automatically removed.
How much does it cost to have points removed from a driving licence?
There isn’t a monetary fee or process that allows you to directly remove points from your driving licence; points cannot be ‘bought off’.
Instead, they are removed naturally once they reach their expiry date, which varies based on the severity of the offence.
In general, once these endorsements expire, they are automatically cleared from your driving record without any intervention or cost on your part. Additionally, you won’t need to shell out any extra money to get a renewed licence without these points.
However, it’s good practice to regularly review your licence and ensure that any expired points have indeed been cleared after their stipulated period.
How could penalty points affect me?
Having penalty points on your licence can have multiple ramifications, both immediate and long-term:
One of the most immediate impacts of having penalty points is on your car insurance. Insurance providers typically view drivers with penalty points as higher risk, meaning your insurance premiums could increase significantly.
Many jobs, especially those that involve driving, require a clean driving licence. Employers can check for penalty points on potential or current employees’ licences, and having endorsements could limit your employment prospects or even result in the loss of your current job if driving is a critical part of it.
Accumulating a certain number of penalty points within a specified time frame can result in a driving ban. For instance, if you accumulate 12 or more points within a 3-year period, you might face a driving disqualification.
On a broader note, having penalty points can also affect how others, personally or professionally, perceive your sense of responsibility.
It’s important to note the duration for which these endorsements are visible:
- For a four-year endorsement: Visible throughout the entire period.
- For an 11-year endorsement: Visible for the initial five years or for the first two-and-a-half years if you acquired the endorsement before turning 18.
Given these implications, it’s imperative to drive safely and responsibly to avoid penalties and the subsequent consequences.
What does ‘totting up points’ mean?
The term ‘totting up’ refers to the accumulation of penalty points on a driver’s licence due to repeated motoring offences.
Here’s a more in-depth look at what it entails:
Accumulation of Points: If you persistently break traffic rules, these minor offences can quickly add up. Once you accumulate 12 or more penalty points within a three-year span, you face a potential disqualification from driving.
Increased Scrutiny: Drivers with existing penalty points need to exercise extra caution. Any additional offences can edge you closer to the ‘totting up’ threshold.
Court Involvement: Once you’re on the brink of reaching or exceeding 12 penalty points, your case will be escalated to court. It is at this juncture that magistrates decide on the length and terms of a driving ban.
Duration of the Ban: Depending on the frequency of your disqualifications, bans can vary:
- 6 months: For accruing 12 or more points within three years.
- 12 months: If it’s your second disqualification within three years.
- 2 years: For those facing their third disqualification within the same timeframe.
Code TT99: This specific code is marked on the driving record when someone is disqualified due to the ‘totting up’ process. It remains on the record for four years starting from the conviction date.
Reapplying for a Licence: If you face a disqualification lasting 56 days or longer, you’ll be required to reapply for a new driving licence before you can legally get back on the roads.
Regional Variations: It’s vital to note that the rules and regulations surrounding driving bans can differ based on jurisdiction. For instance, drivers in Northern Ireland might face some unique provisions.
It’s always in a driver’s best interest to adhere to road rules, not just to avoid penalties but for the safety and well-being of all road users.
Some of the rules on driving bans differ in Northern Ireland.
How many points can a new driver get?
When you’re a fresh licence holder, the rules around penalty points are particularly stringent. While any driver can accrue as many points as the offence warrants, the implications for new drivers are more severe. Here’s a more detailed breakdown:
Accrual of Points: As with seasoned drivers, new drivers can accumulate points based on the nature and severity of the driving offence. However, the repercussions of these points can be more impactful for newbies.
Revocation Threshold: New drivers need to tread extra cautiously during their first two years behind the wheel. Accumulating six or more points during this probationary period results in the licence being revoked or officially cancelled. For perspective, just a couple of minor speeding violations could push a new driver over this threshold.
Reapplying for Licence: In the unfortunate event that your licence is revoked, you’ll have to restart the licensing process. This entails reapplying for a provisional licence, covering the associated fees, and retaking all components of the driving test to secure a full licence once more.
Learner Driver Implications: If you’re still in the learning phase and commit a traffic violation, you aren’t exempt from penalty points. These points are added to your provisional licence. Upon successfully passing your driving test, any active points on your provisional licence transfer to your full licence. This could place you perilously close to the six-point revocation limit right as you begin your driving journey.
New drivers, given their inexperience, are encouraged to exercise maximum caution and always adhere to road rules. This not only ensures their safety but also protects their newfound driving privileges.
Can I avoid penalty points on my licence?
When it comes to avoiding penalty points, the most foolproof way remains adhering strictly to road laws. If you’re vigilant and comply with the rules, you won’t find yourself in a position where you accrue points. However, if you believe that a charge against you is unjust, there are steps you can take:
Contesting the Charge: If you feel you’ve been wrongly accused or penalised, you have the right to challenge the decision in court. It’s prudent to get legal counsel if you decide to adopt this route, as professional advice can significantly shape the outcome.
Alternative to Penalty Points for Speeding: In some instances, particularly for first-time or minor speeding offences, you might be offered an alternative to penalty points. This comes in the form of a speed awareness course. Acceptance for such a course isn’t guaranteed and is influenced by factors like your speed during the offence and any prior attendance of a similar course.
Black Box Insurance for Habitual Offenders: If you’ve found yourself accumulating points (a pattern you should aim to break), you might benefit from considering a telematics or ‘black box’ car insurance policy. This system entails the installation of a device in your vehicle, which tracks and relays your driving behaviour to your insurer. This continuous monitoring can be a motivator to adopt safer driving habits, and over time, could reduce the odds of you committing further offences.
Insurance Premiums & Safer Driving: A silver lining of the telematics system is its potential to decrease your insurance premiums. If the data captured by the device indicates responsible and safe driving habits, your insurance provider might reward you with reduced rates.
Frequently asked questions
To inspect the points on your licence, navigate to the ‘View my driving licence information‘ section of the GOV.UK website.
For this process, ensure you have the following at hand:
- The number of your driving licence
- Your National Insurance number
- The postcode registered on your driving licence.
While some insurance policies may allow you to inform them about penalty points only at renewal time, it’s vital to review your insurance terms and conditions to determine if immediate disclosure is necessary.
However, in the event of a driving ban, it’s imperative to notify your insurance provider immediately, as this might lead to the termination of your coverage.
Having penalty points on your licence can increase your car insurance premiums. Nevertheless, always be transparent about such points. Failing to provide accurate information can render your insurance policy void.
The number of points you accumulate on your licence is contingent upon the nature and frequency of the motoring offences you commit.
Should you amass 12 or more points, typically, you’re at risk of facing a driving ban and potentially having your licence revoked.
No. Even if some of your penalty points are nearing expiration or have recently expired by the time you’re summoned to court, it won’t influence the court’s decision.
The court will consider the total points present on your licence as of the date you committed the motoring offence.
Insurance companies typically track driving offences for a duration of five years.
During insurance application or renewal, they’ll inquire about any driving-related convictions, endorsements, penalties, disqualifications, or bans you’ve received within this five-year timeframe.