In the United Kingdom, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is responsible for issuing and managing driving licences. One important aspect of this process is the system of penalty points, also known as endorsement, which can be added to a driver’s licence for various driving offences. In this article, we will explore the process of checking driving licence points in the UK, including how to check your own points, how points are added and removed, and the consequences of accumulating too many points.
How to Check Your Own Points
The first step in understanding your driving licence points is to check them yourself. This can be done easily online through the DVLA’s View Driving Licence service or a 3rd party service provider. To access this service, you will need your driving licence number, National Insurance number, and postcode. Once you have entered this information, you will be able to view your current points and any endorsements on your licence.
It’s important to note that the View Driving Licence service only shows the points and endorsements on your licence at the time of the check. If you have recently been convicted of an offence that carries penalty points, these may not yet have been added to your licence. In this case, you should wait a few days and check again. It is also important to regularly check your driving record to ensure that your licence is up-to-date and accurate.
Adding Points to Your Licence
When you are convicted of a driving offence that carries penalty points, these points will be added to your licence by the court. The length of time that the points stay on your licence depends on the offence. For example, most endorsement codes stay on your licence for four years from the date of conviction. However, some serious offences, such as causing death by dangerous driving, carry an endorsement that stays on your licence for 11 years.
It’s also worth noting that different offences carry different numbers of points. For example, a conviction for failing to stop at a red traffic light will result in three penalty points, while a conviction for drink-driving will result in 11 points. Reckless driving and excessive speeding can also result in a high number of points.
Removing Points from Your Licence
Once points have been added to your licence, it may be possible to have them removed. This can be done by taking a course, such as a speed awareness course or a drink-driving rehabilitation course. Completing one of these courses will usually result in the points being removed from your licence, although there is usually a fee to pay for the course.
It’s also worth noting that, while points remain on your licence, they will be taken into account by your insurance company when calculating your premiums. As a result, having points removed from your licence can result in lower insurance costs.
How long do points stay on your driving licence?
Points on your driving licence typically stay there for a minimum of four years, after which they can be removed from your record by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). However, the length of time points remain on your driving licence can vary depending on the severity of the offence. For example, if you have been convicted of a serious offence such as drink driving, the points may remain on your licence for up to 11 years.
Here is a summarised table that illustrates the point grading, fines, and driving bans for some common driving offences in the UK:
|Offence||Points||Endorsement Code||Length of Endorsement||Fine||Driving Ban||Imprisonment|
|Failing to stop at a red traffic light||3||TS10||4 years||Up to £1,000||No||No|
|Speeding||3-6||SP10-SP30||4-11 years||Depends on the speed and income of the offender||No||No|
|Use of a mobile phone while driving||6||CU80||4 years||Up to £1,000||No||No|
|Careless driving||3-9||MS10-MS90||4-11 years||Up to £5,000||No||No|
|Driving without due care and attention||3-9||MS10-MS90||4-11 years||Up to £5,000||No||No|
|Drink-driving||11||DR10||11 years||Up to £5,000||Minimum of 12 months||Up to 6 months|
|Dangerous driving||11-14||DD10-DD40||11 years||Up to £5,000||Depends on the severity||Up to 14 year|
|Failure to provide a specimen||12||DG10||11 years||Up to £5,000||Minimum of 12 months||Up to 6 months|
Please note that the actual penalty you get is up to the magistrates who hear your case, and depends on your offence. These penalties are subject to change and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Additionally, accumulating 12 or more points on your licence within a 3-year period, will result in disqualification for a minimum of 6 months and potential fines, and in some cases, imprisonment click here for more information relating to drink-driving offences.
Consequences of Accumulating Too Many Points
Accumulating too many points on your licence can have serious consequences. If you reach 12 or more points within a three-year period, you will be disqualified from driving for a minimum of six months. This is known as the “totting-up” process.
If you are disqualified from driving, you will need to reapply for your driving licence after the disqualification period has ended. This will involve taking both the theory and practical driving test again. Additionally, having a high number of points on your licence can make it more difficult to find car insurance. Insurers may see you as a higher risk and charge you more for your policy as a result.
Each driving offence carries a specific endorsement code, which is used to identify the nature of the offence when it is recorded on your driving licence. These codes are made up of two or three letters, and they can be used to determine how long the endorsement will stay on your licence and how many points will be added. For example, the endorsement code for failing to stop at a red traffic light is TS10, which carries three penalty points and stays on your licence for four years from the date of conviction. Another example, the endorsement code for drink-driving is DR10, which carries 11 penalty points and stays on your licence for 11 years from the date of conviction.
It’s important to be familiar with the different endorsement codes and what they mean, as this can help you understand the points on your licence and the potential consequences of a conviction. You can find a full list of endorsement codes and their associated penalties on the DVLA website.
Penalty Points and New Drivers
For new drivers, accumulating penalty points can have even more serious consequences. If a driver who has held their licence for less than two years accumulates six or more penalty points, their licence will be revoked. This means that they will need to retake both the theory and practical driving test before they can drive again.
It’s also worth noting that if a new driver accumulates six or more points within two years of passing their test, they will not be able to take the “accelerated” driving test, which allows them to take their practical test earlier than usual.
Penalty Points and Professional Drivers
For professional drivers, such as lorry and bus drivers, or those who drive commercial vehicles, accumulating penalty points can have significant consequences for their livelihood. Employers are required to check the driving licence of any employee who will be driving on company business, and they are also required to report any employee who accumulates six or more points to the DVLA.
In addition to the potential loss of employment, professional drivers may also find it difficult to find work in the future if they have a high number of points on their licence. Additionally, commercial endorsements on a driver’s license may be affected by accumulating too many points.
Penalty Points and Foreign Licences
If you hold a foreign driving licence and you are convicted of a driving offence in the UK, points may be added to your foreign licence. However, the process for checking and managing points on a foreign licence is different from that for UK licences.
If you hold a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) driving licence, you will need to contact the relevant authority in your home country to check your points and find out how they will be managed. If you hold a driving licence from outside the EU or EEA, you will need to check with the relevant authority in your home country to find out if points will be added to your licence and how they will be managed.
Special Licenses and Endorsements
Certain types of vehicles and driving situations require special licenses and endorsements. For example, driving a school bus or transporting hazardous materials requires additional training and certification. Similarly, those who drive commercial vehicles may be required to have a commercial driver’s licence. Accumulating points on these special licences or endorsements can have even more serious consequences, as they may affect a driver’s ability to continue working in that field.
The system of penalty points on driving licences in the UK plays an important role in ensuring that drivers are held accountable for their actions on the road. By understanding how points are added and removed, and the consequences of accumulating too many points, drivers can take steps to avoid a disqualification and maintain a clean licence. It’s important to check your own points regularly, be familiar with the different endorsement codes, and to be aware of the different rules that apply to new driver’s licence.