Home Personal Criminal Law Overview of UK Driving Offences and Penalty Points

Overview of UK Driving Offences and Penalty Points

The Road Traffic Offenders Act along with the related system of penalty points was introduced in 1988 to promote safe and considerate driving and deter the occurrence of driving offences.

Should you be convicted of a driving offence, you potentially face a number of penalties, depending on the offence. These could include penalty points, a fine, attending a driver awareness course or, for the more serious offences, imprisonment. Each offence carries a set number or range of penalty points and a maximum penalty which may include a prison term.

The most common driving offences are:

  • Speeding
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Using your phone while driving
  • Failing to stop at a red light
  • Tailgating (driving too closely behind a vehicle)
  • Driving without an MOT or car insurance
  • Driving without due care and attention
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Dangerous driving
  • Driving while disqualified
  • Defective tyres

Penalty points remain on your driving record for between four and eleven years, depending on the offence you are convicted of, and generally start from the date of the offence.
If you accumulate twelve penalty points over a period of three years, then you may be disqualified from driving altogether and be forced to give up your licence.

I’m a new driver. Do the same rules apply?

As a new driver, should you incur six penalty points or more on your driving record within two years of passing your test, your licence will be cancelled.

To continue to drive, you will be required to obtain a new provisional licence and pass both the theory and practical parts of the driving or riding test to be granted a full licence.

If you accumulate penalty points on your provisional licence that are still in place when you pass your driving or riding test, these penalty points will be carried over to your full licence.

If your licence is cancelled after you have passed your driving or riding test, but you haven’t yet sent off for your full licence, then you must retake both parts of the test, using your current provisional licence.

What is a fixed penalty notice?

A police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty for a driving offence on the spot if you have your driving licence with you and less than nine penalty points already on your licence. You should hand over your driving licence to the police officer on the scene, or at the police station or a fixed penalty office within seven days of the notice being issued.

If you already have over nine penalty points on your driving licence, you will be issued with a provisional fixed penalty and a notice to produce your licence and penalty ticket at a police station or fixed penalty office within the next seven days. The provisional fixed penalty will be amended to a full fixed penalty when you produce these documents.

How do I hand over my driving licence?

When you receive a penalty notice, you should hand over your driving licence,

  • to the police station
  • to a fixed penalty office
  • when you appear in court

Should your driving licence not be returned to you, you should contact the fixed penalty office or the court.

It is an offence in itself, carrying a £1,000 fine, to not change the address on your driving licence if you move home, so it is always in your best interests to keep your driving licence up to date. If you have changed your address and not updated your driving licence, or should your licence be damaged, the fixed penalty office or court will send your driving licence to the DVLA to be amended, who will then return it to you within three weeks.

What are the driving offences and related penalty points?

Each driving offence endorsement has a code and related penalty points, ranging from one to eleven depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Failing to stop after an accident (AC10) 5 to 10

4

Failing to give or report an accident within 24 hours (AC20) 5 to 10

4

Undefined accident offences (AC30)

4 to 9

4

 

Disqualified driver

For BA10 and BA30, the points on your driving record will remain for four years from the date of the offence. For BA40 and BA60, the four years will begin on the date of your conviction.

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Driving while disqualified by order of court (BA10) 6

4

Attempting to drive while disqualified by order of court(BA30)

6

4

Causing death by driving while disqualified (BA40)

3 to 11

4

Causing serious injury by driving while disqualified (BA60)

3 to 11

4

 

Careless driving

For CD10, CD20 and CD30, the points will remain on your driving record for four years from the date of the offence.

For CD40, CD50, CD60 and CD70, the stated eleven years is from the date of your conviction.

For CD80 and CD90, the stated four years is from the date of the conviction.

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Driving without due care and attention (CD10)

3 to 9

4

Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users (CD20)

3 to 9

4

Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users (CD30)

3 to 9

4

Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink (CD40)

3 to 11

11

Causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs (CD50)

3 to 11

11

Causing death by careless driving with alcohol level above the limit (CD60)

3 to 11

11

Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a specimen for alcohol analysis (CD70)

3 to 11

11

Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving (CD80)

3 to 11

4

Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers (CD90)

3 to 11

4

 

Construction and use offences

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Using a vehicle with defective brakes (CU10)

3

4

Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of use of unsuitable vehicle or using a vehicle with parts or accessories (excluding brakes, steering or tyres) in a dangerous condition (CU20)

3

4

Using a vehicle with defective tyre(s) (CU30)

3

4

Using a vehicle with defective steering (CU40)

3

4

Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers (CU50)

3

4

Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone (CU80)

3 to 6

4

 

Reckless/dangerous driving

The four years stated below begin on the date of conviction.

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Causing serious injury by dangerous driving (DD10) 3 to 11

4

Dangerous driving (DD40) 3 to 11

4

Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle (DD60)

3 to 11

4

Causing death by dangerous driving (DD80)

3 to 11

4

Furious driving (DD90)

3 to 9

4

 

Drink

For DR10, DR20, DR30, DR31 and DR61, the points will stay on your driving records for eleven years, starting on the date of conviction.

For DR40, DR50, DR60 and DR70, the stated four years start on the date of offence, or the date of conviction where a disqualification is enforced.

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit (DR10) 3 to 11

11

Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink (DR20) 3 to 11

11

Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis (DR30)

3 to 11

11

Driving or attempting to drive then refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity (DR31)

3 to 11

11

Refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive (DR61)

10

11

In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit (DR40)

10

4

In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink (DR50)

10

4

Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive (DR60)

10

4

Failing to provide specimen for breath test (DR70)

4

4

 

Drugs

For DG10, DG60 and DR80, the penalty points will remain on your driving record for eleven years from the date of the conviction.

For DG40 and DR90, the four years stated start on the date of the offence, or the date of conviction where a disqualification is enforced.

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Driving or attempting to drive with drug level above the specified limit (DG10) 3 to 11

11

Causing death by careless driving with drug level above the limit (DG60) 3 to 11

11

Driving or attempting to drive when unfit through drugs (DR80)

3 to 11

11

In charge of a vehicle while drug level above specified limit (DG40)

10

4

In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drugs (DR90)

10

4

 

Insurance offences

Code IN10 – Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks – will incur six to eight penalty points on your driving record for four years from the date of the offence.

Licence offences

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence (LC20) 3 to 6

4

Driving after making a false declaration about fitness when applying for a licence (LC30) 3 to 6

4

Driving a vehicle having failed to notify a disability (LC40)

3 to 6

4

Driving after a licence has been cancelled (revoked) or refused on medical grounds (LC50)

3 to 6

4

 

Miscellaneous offences

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position (MS10) 3

4

Unlawful pillion riding (MS20) 3

4

Play street offences (MS30)

2

4

Motor racing on the highway (MS50)

3 to 11

4

Offences not covered by other codes (including offences relating to breach of requirements as to control of vehicle) (MS60)

3

4

Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight (MS70)

3

4

Refusing to submit to an eyesight test (MS80)

3

4

Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc (MS90)

6

4

 

Motorway offences

Code MW10 – Contravention of special roads regulations (excluding speed limits) – will incur three penalty points on your driving licence for a period of four years from the date of the offence.

Pedestrian crossings

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Undefined contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations (PC10) 3

4

Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with moving vehicle (PC20)

3

4

Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with stationary vehicle (PC30)

3

4

 

Speed limits

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits (SP10) 3 to 6

4

Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles) (SP20) 3 to 6

4

Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road (SP30)

3 to 6

4

Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit (SP40)

3 to 6

4

Exceeding speed limit on a motorway (SP50)

3 to 6

4

 

If you are convicted of a speeding offence, you may be asked to attend a speed awareness course instead of receiving penalty points. However, if you are convicted of speeding a second time within three years of the original offence, penalty points will be added to your driving record.

Traffic directions and signs

Offence

Penalty Points

Years on your driving record

Failing to comply with traffic light signals (TS10) 3

4

Failing to comply with double white lines (TS20) 3

4

Failing to comply with ‘stop’ sign (TS30)

3

4

Failing to comply with direction of a constable/warden (TS40)

3

4

Failing to comply with traffic sign (excluding ‘stop’ signs, traffic lights or double white lines) (TS50)

3

4

Failing to comply with a school crossing patrol sign (TS60)

3

4

Undefined failure to comply with a traffic direction sign (TS70)

3

4

 

Special Code

Code TT99 is used when a driver has incurred twelve or more penalty points over a period of three years. This is called ‘totting-up’ and results in the driver being disqualified.
Code TT99 remains on a driving record for four years from the date of the conviction.

Theft or unauthorised taking

Code UT50 is used for the ‘Aggravated taking of a vehicle’ and incurs a range of penalty points from three to eleven, which will remain on a driving record for four years from the date of the offence.

Mutual recognition

If you are disqualified from driving while in Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man, an MR code will be placed on your driving record for a period of four years from the date of conviction. This disqualification will also be valid and enforceable in the whole of the UK.

MR09Reckless or dangerous driving (whether or not resulting in death, injury or serious risk)
MR19Wilful failure to carry out the obligation placed on driver after being involved in a road accident (hit or run)
MR29Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other substance affecting or diminishing the mental and physical abilities of a driver
MR39Driving a vehicle faster than the permitted speed
MR49Driving a vehicle whilst disqualified
MR59Other conduct constituting an offence for which a driving disqualification has been imposed by the State of Offence

Aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring offences

For these offences, the related code is altered so that the zero at the end changes to a two, for instance, LS20 would become LS22.

Causing or permitting offences

Similarly, for these offences, the zero at the end of the code would be changed to a four. So DR20 would become DR24.

Inciting offences

For these offences, the zero on the end of the code would change to a six. DR20 would become DR26.

How can I check what penalty points are on my driving record?

To check what penalty points and endorsements are on your driving record, visit https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

Alternatively, contact the DVLA by visiting https://www.gov.uk/contact-the-dvla/y/driver-licensing

What do I do if there are incorrect endorsements and penalty points on my driving record?

If you feel that the endorsements and penalty points on your driving record are incorrect, contact the court that ruled on your conviction.

How do I remove penalty points from my driving record when they’ve run their course?

Once any penalty points on your driving record have expired, they will automatically be removed. You need do nothing for this to happen.

How can legal advice help?

egal advice can ensure that you understand the endorsement process, are properly represented, and provide you with a better chance of receiving as few points on your driving record as necessary.

 

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