Penalties and how long points stay on your licence

Penalties and how long points stay on your licence

With around 45 million people in the UK holding a valid UK driving licence it’s essential that the rules of the road are followed. In the interest of the safety, drivers are required to abide by series of rules. Failure to adhere to these rules can result in fines, penalty points or even having your licence revoked. In this article, we’ll take you through the laws and what penalties are in place. Finally, we’ll let you know how long penalty points stay on your licence for.


Penalties and how long points stay on your licenceWe all know that speeding is against the law. The speed limits are set to ensure the safety of all road users. There are two ways you can be caught speeding in the UK. Either a police officer can stop you and you will be notified at the scene. Or by a speed camera. If you are caught by a speed camera a penalty charge notice will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle.

Read about registered keepers of lease cars here.

The minimum penalty for speeding is £100 and 3 points on your licence. In some circumstances, you will be offered the opportunity to exchange your points for a speed awareness course. The course costs vary from County to County but this fee is to be paid in addition to the penalty.

A speed awareness course is only offered if you were speeding within certain limits. For example in a 30mph zone, your speed needs to be between (and including) 35mph and 42mph. On motorways, the figure needs to be between (and including) 79mph and 86mph. Furthermore, you will not be offered a Speed Awareness Course if you have taken one in the three years prior to your most recent speeding offence.

Excessive speeding

When the speed limit is exceeded by 20 mph or more, you could face prosecution and have to appear before a Court. Excessive speeding is punishable by heavy fines of up to £2,500. You’ll also receive 3-6 penalty points. If the speeding offence is particularly serious, you could even be disqualified from driving for a period of time.

Using a mobile phone

The penalties for using a mobile phone while driving has increased over the years as it has become widely recognised as a leading cause of car accidents in the UK. In our modern lives of full connectivity wherever we go, it’s a constant temptation to pick up the phone. IYou absolutely must resist the temptation while you’re driving. Unless you are using a Bluetooth or hands-free then you run the risk of securing a standard penalty of 3 points on your licence. The fine for using a mobile phone while driving can reach a staggering £1000.

Drink Driving

Penalties and how long points stay on your licenceBeing caught drink driving is a serious offence. If you are pulled over the by police and are found to have a high level of alcohol in your system behind the wheel of a car then you are in trouble. You will be breathalysed by the officer and if you refuse to provide a breath test then you will be taken to the station. If you are found to be guilty of drink driving you will be prosecuted and could face 3 months imprisonment, up to £2500 in fines and even a driving ban. If you drive as part of your job your employer are within their rights to lay you off, as you are no longer able to fulfil the requirements of the role.

It’s not possible to know how much you can drink to stay below the legal drink driving limit, because there are factors such as your weight, gender, age and metabolism to consider. That’s why the safest advice is to avoid alcohol if you are driving, even the morning after drinking alcohol.

Driving without insurance

It is a legal requirement that everyone who drives a vehicle in the UK has a valid insurance certificate. If you are caught driving without a valid insurance policy you automatically receive 6 points on your licence and a fine of up to £5,000. This isn’t like the other fines. It doesn;t directly correlate to posing a risk to other road users physically. However, the risk is that if you were involved in an accident that was your fault, and you are uninsured, then the injured party would not be able to reclaim their losses. Worst case scenario you injur or kill somebody on the road uninsured. Then they would not be able to fund medical or funeral costs because you were uninsured. The law doesn’t look kindly to this level of irresponsible behaviour.

If you are caught driving without insurance the police may seize your vehicle and destroy it. Some cases go to court and you could face losing your licence or paying a higher fine.

Careless or dangerous driving

Penalties and how long points stay on your licenceCareless driving is described as driving a vehicle without attention and consideration for other drivers or pedestrians. You may be charged by police for careless driving even if you have not caused any accident or injury as a result. Careless driving examples are things like doing your makeup at the wheel, swerving around bollards or driving through a red light. Generally, the punishment for careless driving are milder than for dangerous driving. You could be subjected to a large fine, penalty points or in bad cases a ban from driving.

Dangerous driving is described as the person behind the wheel drove the vehicle in a manner that anyone with knowledge of traffic regulations would describe as reckless. Again, you can be convicted of dangerous driving even if you haven’t been involved in an accident as a result. Scenarios for dangerous driving include jumping railway crossings, racing, performing car stunts on public roads and even for driving a vehicle that is in poor working condition. Dangerous driving usually results in disqualification from driving. If your actions have resulted in injury or death then you could face a prison sentence.

Other offences

  • Failure to follow a traffic signal or traffic sign; (3 penalty points);
  • Failure to report an accident immediately (if there are injured victims) or within 24 hours (if there are no injured victims). Committing this offence is punishable by up to 26 weeks of imprisonment, as well as a heavy fine;
  • Careless or dangerous cycling;
  • Failing to follow the traffic indications of a police officer.

How long do points stay on your licence for?

Answering the common question of how long do points stay on your licence for?

The good news is that points only stay on your licence for 3 years. If you receive a total of 9 points on your licence then your licence will be revoked. You would need to re-apply in three years time to get it back. Not only that, you’ll be required to take another driving test. For new drivers, the upper limit is reduced to just 6 points in a two-year time frame.

Is it worth it?

Ultimately, it’s really not worth risking committing any kind of driving offence. The financial and lifestyle repercussions can be huge. So avoid paying hefty fines, getting banned and even being sent to prison by observing and respecting the rules of the road. Brush up on your highway code.

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