We all know that driving offences can lead to points on your licence. But how do these penalties work? Do all driving offences lead to the same number of penalty points (or ‘endorsements’)? Knowing more about licence penalties can not only help you ensure your own driving is safe but can also help when checking the driver licence of new employees in your fleet.

Read on to discover more about driving licence penalties in the UK and what to look out for in driving licence checks.

What’s the difference between a minor and a major offence?

Most of the offences which are resolved by a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) are classified as minor offences. You still need to declare these to your insurance company, and they may or may not affect your insurance premium, depending on the nature of the offence.

The most serious offences, such as dangerous driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, are classified as major offences. These go to the magistrate’s court, where the penalty will be decided. The penalty decision includes the number of points that will go on your licence, along with any fines or disqualifications (more on that later).

What can you get points for, and how long do they stay on your record?

Driving offences carry a maximum of 11 penalty points. Some offences carry a pre-defined number of points. For example, the following offences all carry three penalty points:

  • Failing to comply with traffic light signals or other signs
  • Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight
  • Using a vehicle with defective brakes

Other offences carry a defined range of penalty points, in which case the exact number of points you receive will be determined by the court.

How long do penalty points stay on record?

Many offences, and the resulting points, stay on your driving record for four years. However, some serious offences must stay on your record for 11 years. These include:

  • Causing death by careless driving
  • Driving over the alcohol limit
  • Driving with drug levels above the specified limit

What is the penalty for speeding?

Speeding is a common driving offence. In fact, around 150,000 motorists receive speeding fines each year in the UK.

The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points on your driving record. You can be issued an FPN or a letter telling you to go to court, whether you have been caught speeding by a speed camera or by the police. If you are ordered to court, the offence is treated the same as any other, with the judge deciding your penalty.

What about driving bans?

You can be disqualified (banned) from driving if you get 12 or more penalty points within three years, or if you commit a serious offence and the court imposes an immediate disqualification. The court will also determine how long your disqualification will last for, depending on the severity of the offence.

Driving disqualifications resulting from getting 12 or more points in three years usually last six months for the first instance, then 12 months if you get a second disqualification in the following three years, then two years for a third disqualification in three years.

If you are disqualified for 56 days or more, you must re-apply for your driving licence before you can drive again. You may need to take another driving test, or even an extended driving test, to earn back your licence. This will be determined by the court.

Which offences carry a prison sentence?

Drivers who commit the most serious major offences could be hit with time in prison. Such offences include dangerous driving, being found responsible for another person’s death, or driving when disqualified, as this demonstrates disrespect for the law.

What are the rules for learners or new drivers?

The rules are stricter for new drivers. Your licence is cancelled, or revoked, if you get six penalty points on your licence within two years of passing your test. To get your licence back, you will need to re-apply for a provisional licence and pass both parts of the driving test again.

What happens if you get points on your provisional licence?

Did you know that learners can get licence points? If you receive penalty points on your provisional licence and they haven’t expired by the time you pass your test, they’ll transfer over to your full licence.

There is no maximum number of penalty points allowed on your provisional licence, but if you have more than six, any points you get within two years of passing will result in your licence being revoked.

Trust Safe2Drive for independent checking and vehicle compliance

Safe2Drive runs independent driving licence and vehicle checks using our industry-leading solution. We make checking employee driving licences and grey fleet checking easy for our clients by providing insights through our web portal and mobile app.

With Safe2Drive, you can confidently run driving licence checks backed by the most recent DVLA and DVLA NI information, and run thorough checks on grey fleet vehicles to ensure your drivers’ cars meet all legal requirements and are covered when using their vehicles for company business. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help your business.