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If you've ever been caught speeding or running a red light, or committed another driving offence, you'll have points on your driving licence. These points stay on your licence for 4 or 11 years, impacting the price of your motoring insurance and your ability to hire a car, among other things. Accumulating 12 points (or 6 for new drivers) can even lead to your driving licence being banned. We explain everything you need to know about driving licence points, including how to check your points, when you lose your licence, and when points expire.
- Driving Licence Basics: Points and Endorsements
- How to Check Points on your Driving Licence
- How many Points before your Driving Licence is Suspended or Lost?
- How Long do Points Stay on your Driving License?
Driving Licence Terminology: Points and Endorsements
Any driving offence will be described via an Endorsement Code, Penalty Points, and Length of Time on record. How many points you're given and how long they stay on your driving record will depend on the severity of the offence.
How to Check Points on your Driving Licence
If you want to check how many points are on your driving licence, you can see your official driving record. By doing so, you can view your penalty points or disqualifications, see what vehicles you can drive, and create a licence ‘check code’ to share your driving record with someone else (e.g., a car hire company) that is valid for 21 days.
In order to check your driving record, you'll need:
- your driving licence number
- your National Insurance number
- the postcode on your driving licence
How to Get Points Removed from your Driving Licence
Unfortunately, there's no way to have points removed before they've expired (unlike in America, where you can often take a driving course to knock points off). Once expired, most endorsements will automatically be removed from your licence. If, for some reason, any endorsement remains after it's expired, contact the DVLA to have it removed.
How many Points before your Driving Licence is Suspended or Lost?
You can be disqualified from driving if you accumulate 12 or more penalty points over 3 years (or fewer points, in some cases, depending on the circumstances surrounding your driving offence conviction). In either case, you'll receive a summons in the post telling you when to go to court. (Note that some disqualification rules are different in Northern Ireland.) Depending on the circumstances, your ban may last from 6 months to 2 years.
|Scenario||Ban can last...|
|Accumulate 12 or more penalty points within 3 years||6 months|
|Get a second disqualification within 3 years||12 months|
|Get a third disqualification within 3 years||2 years|
If your ban lasts for 56 days or more, you'll need to apply for a new licence before you can drive again; you also may be told by the court that you need to retake the driving test or take an extended driving test in order to get your full licence back.
If your ban lasts less than 56 days, you can drive again once the ban has ended (i.e., you don't need to apply for a new licence). Details can be checked on your online driving record.
New drivers face stricter limits. Any new motorist who accumulates 6 or more points during their first two years after passing the driving test will have their licence revoked. If this happens, you’ll have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence, passing both theory and practical elements of the test again. Points on a provisional licence don't go away, but carry over to a full licence.
|These rules apply to new drivers who passed their first driving test in:|
|Great Britain||Northern Ireland||Isle of Man|
|Channel Islands||Gibraltar||European Community (EC) and European Economic Area (EEA)^|
^The EC/EEA countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
How Long do Points Stay on your Driving License?
Points technically stay on your license for either 4 or 11 years, depending on the seriousness of the offence—but it's not as simple as that. Points will adversely affect you in two ways: they can be used in court to decide if your licence should be banned and they can be seen by third parties such as employers, insurance companies, and car hire firms. While the endorsement (points) may sit on your licence for the full 4 or 11 years, they won't necessarily be a burden for the entire time.
Points on your driving licence may not adversely affect you for the whole endorsement period due to two reasons. First, points are only "valid" for a portion of the full endorsement: a 4-year endorsement is valid for 3 years and an 11-year endorsement is valid for 10 years. When points are "valid" they can be used in court; that is, counted when tallying your total points to see if your licence should be banned or suspended.
In practical terms, this means that if you commit a new offence in the final year of an existing endorsement, the court won't include those older (i.e., not valid) points when calculating your total point tally. Second, while a 4-year endorsement is visible to third parties for the entire 4 years, an 11-year endorsement is only visible to third parties for 5 years. As a result, during the last six years of an 11-year endorsement your insurance costs shouldn't be negatively impacted.
|Endorsement||Valid (i.e., used in court) for ...||Visible to Third Parties (e.g., insurance) for...|
|4 years||3 years||4 years|
|11 years||10 years||5 years^|
^or the first 30 months if you’re under 18
The table below illustrates, for the various offences, how many penalty points you will incur and how long they will stay on your licence. As a final complication, the endorsement period can start from either the date you’re convicted or the date of your offence. You'll notice that more serious endorsements tend to start from date of conviction and less serious endorsements tend to start from date of offence.
|Code||Offence||Penalty points||On Record for…||From Date of...|
|Failing to stop after an accident||5 to 10||4 years||Offence|
|Failing to give particulars or report an accident within 24 hours||5 to 10||4 years||Offence|
|Undefined accident offences||4 to 9||4 years||Offence|
|Driving while disqualified by order of court||6||4 years||Offence|
|Attempting to drive while disqualified by order of court||6||4 years||Offence|
|Causing death by driving while disqualified||3 to 11||4 years||Conviction|
|Causing serious injury by driving while disqualified||3 to 11||4 years||Conviction|
|Driving without due care and attention||3 to 9||4 years||Offence|
|Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users||3 to 9||4 years||Offence|
|Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users||3 to 9||4 years||Offence|
|Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|Causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|Causing death by careless driving with alcohol level above the limit||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a specimen for alcohol analysis||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving||3 to 11||4 years||Conviction|
|Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers||3 to 11||4 years||Conviction|
Construction and use offences
|Using a vehicle with defective brakes||3||4 years||Offence|
|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||3||4 years||Offence|
|Using a vehicle with defective tyre(s)||3||4 years||Offence|
|Using a vehicle with defective steering||3||4 years||Offence|
|Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers||3||4 years||Offence|
|Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
|Causing serious injury by dangerous driving||3 to 11||4 years||Conviction|
|Dangerous driving||3 to 11||4 years||Conviction|
|Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle||3 to 11||4 years||Conviction|
|Causing death by dangerous driving||3 to 11||4 years||Conviction|
|Furious driving||3 to 9||4 years||Conviction|
|Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|Driving or attempting to drive then refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|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||10||11 years||Conviction|
|In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit||10||4 years||Offence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)|
|In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink||10||4 years||Offence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)|
|Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive||10||4 years||Offence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)|
|Failing to provide specimen for breath test||4||4 years||Offence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)|
|Driving or attempting to drive with drug level above the specified limit||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|Causing death by careless driving with drug level above the limit||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|Driving or attempting to drive when unfit through drugs||3 to 11||11 years||Conviction|
|In charge of a vehicle while drug level above specified limit||10||4 years||Offence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)|
|In charge of a vehicle when unfit through drugs||10||4 years||Offence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)|
|Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks||6 to 8||4 years||Offence|
|Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
|Driving after making a false declaration about fitness when applying for a licence||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
|Driving a vehicle having failed to notify a disability||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
|Driving after a licence has been revoked or refused on medical grounds||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
|Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position||3||4 years||Offence|
|Unlawful pillion riding||3||4 years||Offence|
|Play street offences||2||4 years||Offence|
|Motor racing on the highway||3 to 11||4 years||Offence|
|Offences not covered by other codes (including offences relating to breach of requirements as to control of vehicle)||3||4 years||Offence|
|Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight||3||4 years||Offence|
|Refusing to submit to an eyesight test||3||4 years||Offence|
|Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc||6||4 years||Offence|
|Contravention of special roads regulations (excluding speed limits)||3||4 years||Offence|
|Undefined contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations||3||4 years||Offence|
|Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with moving vehicle||3||4 years||Offence|
|Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with stationary vehicle||3||4 years||Offence|
|Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
|Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
|Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
|Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
|Exceeding speed limit on a motorway||3 to 6||4 years||Offence|
Traffic direction and signs
|Failing to comply with traffic light signals||3||4 years||Offence|
|Failing to comply with double white lines||3||4 years||Offence|
|Failing to comply with ‘stop’ sign||3||4 years||Offence|
|Failing to comply with direction of a constable/warden||3||4 years||Offence|
|Failing to comply with traffic sign (excluding ‘stop’ signs, traffic lights or double white lines)||3||4 years||Offence|
|Failing to comply with a school crossing patrol sign||3||4 years||Offence|
|Undefined failure to comply with a traffic direction sign||3||4 years||Offence|
Doubled Points and Fines for Mobile Phone use while Driving
As of 1 March 2017, fines and penalties have doubled for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving. Motorists caught doing so face 6 points on their licence and a £200 fine. Get caught twice in three years and you may very well lose your licence for six months. New drivers are likely to lose their licence on the first offence. More information about this particular driving offence can be found in our article Use your Mobile Phone while Driving? That'll be 6 points and a £200 fine.
And did you know that you can get 3 points on your licence (and a £2,500 fine) if you drive your car if it failed its MOT due to a defect deemed "dangerous" on the list of MOT fail codes?