You don’t have to be a daredevil or deadly driver to get points on your licence. In the UK, points are handed out for even simple offences, such as driving through a red light or a minor speeding offence. If you accumulate too many points in a short period of time, you may be disqualified from driving altogether. But how long do these points last and what are the short-term and long-term consequences? Find out more below.
What are points and endorsements?
If you’re found guilty of any kind of motoring offence in the UK, you can receive a fine and an ‘endorsement’ of penalty points which are added to your driving record. The amount of points you receive will depend on the severity of your offence, and each type of offence has its own special endorsement code. For example, for using a vehicle with defective brakes (CU10), the penalty is 3 points. Getting caught driving a vehicle from the wrong driving licence category could also result in an endorsement of 3-6 points. Other more serious offences could cause you to receive a maximum endorsement of 11 points, such as causing a death due to careless or inconsiderate driving (CD80).
The majority of people receive points as a result of speeding penalties. The standard penalty involves a fine and 3 penalty points, but for excessive speeding this could increase to 6 penalty points. However, if you are considered eligible, it may be possible to avoid getting points by attending a speed awareness course instead. You’ll be expected to pay the course fees yourself as these courses are normally held by external providers.
How many points can I get before I lose my licence?
If you’re convicted of a certain driving offence or manage to get 12 points or more within a three year period, the court can ban you from driving. The rules are stricter for new drivers as their licence will be revoked if they receive 6 or more points within 2 years of passing their driving test.
The first driving disqualification for 12+ points typically lasts 6 months. This increases to 12 months if you are disqualified a second time within 3 years and goes up to 2 years for a third disqualification. If you’re banned from driving for 56 days or more, you’ll have to apply for a new licence and may even have to retake the driving test.
How long do penalty points last?
Penalty points can stay on your driving record for 4-11 years from the date of the conviction based on the offence committed. For cases of speeding, the points usually stay on your licence for 4 years, although they are technically only “valid” for the first 3 years. Valid points are those that can be used in a court case or considered when issuing a driving ban. This basically means that if you’re convicted of another offence during the final year of the previous 4 year endorsement, the points won’t be counted when calculating your total penalty points.
How can I get penalty points removed from my licence?
You shouldn’t have to do anything. Most of the time, the points are automatically removed as soon as the endorsement expires. You can check your driving licence record at any time via the government website. It will show you how many points you have and when they will be removed.