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Rules & regulations

What happens if I get a driving conviction?

Getting a driving conviction is a serious business because it can affect your car insurance and even your job if your employer requires you to have a clean licence.

Driving convictions are often referred to as points on your licence because the offence is given an endorsement code with a certain number of penalty points attached to it. For some convictions, you'll also have to pay a fine.

Example: failing to stop after an accident has the endorsement code AC10 and has 5 to 10 penalty points attached to it.

How can I get points on my licence?

There are a few ways you can pick up licence points and these are the most common:

  • Being caught committing a motoring offence by a police officer
  • Getting caught by a camera - there are speed and general traffic cameras in many places
  • Being involved in a crash that may have been caused by something you did, like speeding

What are the most common driving convictions?

Code Offence Penalty points
SP30 Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road 3-6
SP50 Exceeding speed limit on a motorway 3-6
TS10 Failing to comply with traffic light signals 3
IN10 Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks 6-8
CU80 Using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle 3
DR10 Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit 3-11
LC20 Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence 3-6
CD10 Driving without due care or attention 3-9
 
Go to GOV.UK to get the full list of driving licence endorsements and penalty points.

How long do points stay on my licence?

An endorsement on your licence will stay there for at least 4 years. Depending on the conviction, this is either:

  • 4 years from the date of the conviction - if the conviction was for reckless or dangerous driving, or ended up in disqualification
  • 4 years from the date of the offence - any situation other than the above

More serious convictions, like drink driving, can stay on your licence for up to 11 years.

You can check online to see if you have any points on your licence.

Is there a way to avoid getting points on my licence?

If you're caught speeding, you should be given the option to accept the points on your licence and a fine, or attend a speed awareness course, which costs £92.

It's a great course and I've never heard anything but positive stuff about it from attendees.

BUT. You won't be given this option if you passed your test within the last 2 years. Getting more than 6 points within 2 years of passing means you lose your licence and have to retake your test.
 

What fines are there for driving convictions?

Offence Maximum penalty
Causing death by dangerous driving 14 years’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification (minimum 2 years)
Dangerous driving 2 years’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification
Causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs 14 years’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification (minimum 2 years)
Careless and inconsiderate driving Unlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification
Driving while unfit through drink or drugs or with excess alcohol: or failing to provide a specimen for analysis 6 months’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification
Failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident 6 months’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification
Driving while disqualified 6 months’ imprisonment (12 months in Scotland) / Unlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification
Driving after refusal or revocation of licence on medical grounds 6 months’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification
Driving without insurance Unlimited fine / Discretionary disqualification
Using a vehicle in a dangerous condition LGV or PCV unlimited, other vehicles £2,500/ Obligatory disqualification if offence committed within 3 years of a previous conviction for a similar offence - 6 months min. Otherwise discretionary
Failure to have proper control of vehicle or full view of the road and traffic ahead, or using a hand-held mobile phone when driving £1,000 fine (£2,500 for PCV or goods vehicle) / Discretionary disqualification
Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence £1,000 fine / Discretionary disqualification
Speeding £1,000 fine (£2,500 for motorway offences) / Discretionary disqualification
Traffic light offences £1,000 fine / Discretionary disqualification
No MOT certificate £1,000 fine
Seat belt offences £500 fine
Failing to identify driver of vehicle £1,000 fine / Discretionary disqualification

GOV.UK

How does a driving conviction affect my insurance?

When buying insurance, you need to tell your insurer about any driving convictions you've had in the last 5 years, or if you have been charged with something and are waiting for your court date (it's called a pending conviction). If you get a conviction while you're insured, you'll need to tell them what's happened.

If you don't disclose a conviction to your insurer, it can make your policy invalid. That means if you crashed, you wouldn't be covered. This can stay on your insurance 'record' for life - making it more difficult to get insured in the future.

What about minor offences?

There are also traffic offences that don't mean points on your licence. These are:

  1. Penalty Charge Notices for things like parking where you shouldn't or driving in a bus lane during the hours of its operation
  2. Fixed Penalty Notices for moving offences like driving through a red light
  3. Notices of Intended Prosecution for offences where you weren't actually stopped, like speeding

Although these are technically minor offences, they can turn into serious problems if you don't pay the fine quickly. A fine that isn't paid can see you end up in court.

You don't usually have to tell your insurer about tickets but check your policy to make sure.

 

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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .