It’s well-known that speeding and reckless driving can earn you significant penalty points on your driving licence, but are you aware of other problems which may incur endorsements? Poor tyre maintenance or faulty lights are just two of the areas you need to consider but there are plenty more that could see your licence come under threat.
If you are a haulier or courier driver, you need to be aware of the full range of penalty points, how you get issued them, how long they remain on your licence and what penalties could lead to a total driving ban. Remember, that accruing too many points will also affect your companies motor trade insurance or fleet van insurance premiums when you come to renew.
What are Penalty Points?
Penalty points are endorsements on your driving licence issued to you for offences. They can remain on your driving record for between four and 11 years depending on the severity of the offence. If you accrue too many points over a certain period, generally 12 over a period of three years, you will be disqualified from driving.
For new drivers, the rules are different. If you have passed your test recently, you are given a probationary period of two years and the 6-point rule is applied - a person can lose their licence for gaining 6 points within this period. Just one solitary offence, such as using your mobile whilst driving, could see you getting an instant ban and will affect your motor trade insurance premiums when you come to renew.
10 Ways to Incur Penalty Points
If you want to prevent accruing penalty points on your licence, avoid making any of the following violations. The general rule is that the more serious the offence, the higher the points and the longer they will remain.
A speeding fine may stay on your driving record for four years from the date of the offence and you can receive from 3 to 6 points and a minimum £100 fine. If you are a new driver, this could mean an instant ban.
2. Defective tyres and other defects
As we head into winter, it’s even more important to keep a check of your tyres. If your tyres do not have the legal minimum tread of 1.6mm or are damaged, you could be fined £2500 and get three points – that’s for each tyre. The same goes for faulty lights and defective brakes.
3. Driving through a red light.
We’ve all been tempted to nip through an amber light but if you are caught on camera just as it turns red, you could face a £100 fine and 3 points on your licence not to mention the risk of causing a serious accident.
4. Driving without insurance
Driving without the right motor trade insurance in place could see you lose your business if you incur a ban, together with 6 to 8 points on your licence and a fine of up to £5000. The penalty points will also push up your premiums when you do come to renew.
5. Driving without due care and attention
It’s easy to become distracted on the road, especially if you are driving long distances. But if you are found to be driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, you could receive between 3 and 9 points on your licence and a fine of up to £2500. This can cover a number of offences from poor lane discipline on the motorway, to swerving across the road while changing your sat nave. If you are involved in a fatal crash, you could face a driving ban, unlimited fine or prison sentence.
6. Dangerous driving
More serious than driving without due care, this is driving recklessly far below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver. It can include dangerous overtaking, racing other vehicles or driving aggressively with other road users. You could incur 3-11 penalty points, an unlimited fine, a driving ban and even a prison sentence for serious offences.
7. Failure to stop after an accident
Failing to stop after an accident is deemed a serious offence and you could get 5-10 points and be fined up to £5000. If someone has been injured, you will need to stop and report the accident to the police.
8. Using a mobile phone while driving
Using a mobile phone whilst driving is on the increase and new laws are soon to be introduced to clamp down on all offenders. If caught using a mobile phone while driving, you will receive 3-6 points and a £100 fine.
9. Driving without a licence
If you are found driving without a licence, you will be issued with between 3-6 points (added to your licence when you get one). You could also face a £1000 fine. Driving while disqualified is a serious offence and you will be given 6 points on your licence and up to 11 points if you cause serious injury or a fatality. You could also face a six-month prison term, a £5000 fine and be banned indefinitely.
10. Drink or drug driving
Considered the most serious of offences, driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above the limit will see you get 3 to 11 points which will remain on your driving record for the full 11 years. For drink or drug offences, you will receive a 12-month ban and could face a year in prison and a fine of up to £5000. If found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could be sentenced to 14 years in prison.