Receiving penalty points on your driving licence is more common than you might think. Over 2.7 million UK drivers have points on their licence* for offences like speeding, use of mobile phones, and running red lights.
Points remain on your licence for 3 years from the date of offence before they expire, so many drivers have existing points without realising it. That’s why it’s important for all motorists to regularly check their total penalty points – so you know where you stand if faced with additional driving offences.
In this article, we explain the simple ways to check if you have any valid driving licence penalty points and the potential consequences of accumulating multiple offences over time.
* Based on figures quoted from government data source: 5th August 2023 GB Driving Licence data (https://www.data.gov.uk/dataset/d0be1ed2-9907-4ec4-b552-c048f6aec16a/gb-driving-licence-data)
What we’ll cover:
Accumulating multiple penalty points can negatively impact your driving licence and finances. Here are the key consequences to be aware of:
Losing Your Licence
The main risk of increased points is driving disqualification. If you reach 12 or more points within 3 years then you’ll face a minimum 6-month driving ban. For new drivers, the threshold is lower – just 6 points within the first 2 years of passing your test leads to lost driving privileges. These disqualification periods aim to penalise repeat offences.
Increased Insurance Costs
Insurers view drivers with points as higher risk, so you can expect to see your premiums rise if you have any. Typically, the number of points you have determines how much your premiums increase. Here is a comparison of the average amount these premiums are likely to increase based on the points you have incurred**:
|Number of Points On Your Licence
|Increase in Insurance Price
** These figures were quoted by Adrian Flux here: https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/blog/2023/02/insurance-driving-licence-penalty-points/
Shopping around for quotes is essential to finding affordable rates with penalty points.
Notifying DVLA of Address Changes
If you change home addresses after receiving penalty points, it’s crucial to inform DVLA. This allows them to mail you notifications if any points on your licence are nearing their expiration date. Failure to update your address with the DVLA risks further penalties and complications. Don’t let outdated contact details prevent you from knowing your true points status.
Regularly monitoring your licence points and minimising further offences is key to maintaining driving privileges and controlling insurance costs. The consequences grow more severe the more points you accumulate.
If you need to check your current penalty points total, there are several options available:
The quickest way is using the DVLA’s View Driving Licence service. After setting up a Government Gateway account, you can access your licence details including the number of points and their associated offence codes.
You can start this process by visiting the government website: https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
To receive confirmation of your points, you can call the DVLA or write to them requesting written details of your licence status and history. Provide identifying information like your driver number. This may take up to 5 days.
Checking online provides instant access to your points totals while contacting DVLA directly yields official written records. Monitor your penalties regularly to avoid future driving surprises.
When checking your driver record or licence photocard for penalty points, there are some key details to look for:
Location of Points Information
Online records show your information under “Penalty points you have”. This displays current and pending endorsements with details of offence codes and dates.
Types of Offences
Codes like SP30 or MS90 indicate speeding, CU80 is for mobile phone use, and CD10 means running a red light. Knowing the codes helps understand your offences.
For more information about what each code means, please read our blog ‘Driving Offence, Penalty Points and Offence Code’.
Points for speeding expire after 4 years, while most other offences expire after 3 years. Check the timeframe so you know when points will be removed. Note that endorsements might remain on your driving record for longer (up to 11 years depending on their severity).
Keeping these details in mind allows you to accurately track your specific penalty situation. Double-check the offence codes and expiry dates when monitoring your points.
Once you have penalty points, it’s crucial to avoid accumulating more and risking disqualification. Here are some tips to help keep your points from increasing:
Obeying all speed limits, traffic signals, and road signs is essential. Don’t rely on “bending the rules”. Stick to designated limits to minimise new speeding tickets.
For minor offences like speeding, police may offer you the option to take a driver retraining course, such as those run by the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS). If offered and completed, these courses prevent you from gaining the penalty points from your licence. However, not everyone will be eligible – courses are generally only offered to those with minor first-time offences.
Use Legal Help
If you believe points were incorrectly or unfairly applied, consider legal assistance. Solicitors may identify grounds that would have the point removed from your driving record.
Make sure DVLA has your current address so you are aware of any new convictions or points expiring. Don’t let outdated contact details lead to complications and further repercussions.
Exercising caution on the road, taking advantage of point-reduction courses, and using legal help where appropriate can support efforts to avoid accumulating high-risk points totals.
Having penalty points on your driving licence is more common than many motorists realise. Regularly checking your current points totals through DVLA’s online services, your photocard, or directly contacting DVLA allows you to accurately track your standing.
Knowing how many valid points you have, the nature of the offences, expiration timeframes, and your status across licence categories is crucial. This helps you make informed decisions about your driving behaviours to avoid further endorsements.
Exercising caution on the road, taking advantage of point-reduction courses where possible, and leveraging legal advice if you believe points were unjustified are key strategies for keeping your penalty points in check. Monitoring your licence regularly is vital to maintaining your driving privileges and controlling insurance costs.