Driving Licence Points: Everything you Need to Know

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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 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.

ScenarioBan can last...
Accumulate 12 or more penalty points within 3 years6 months
Get a second disqualification within 3 years12 months
Get a third disqualification within 3 years2 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

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 BritainNorthern IrelandIsle of Man
Channel IslandsGibraltarEuropean 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.

EndorsementValid (i.e., used in court) for ...Visible to Third Parties (e.g., insurance) for...
4 years3 years4 years
11 years10 years5 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.

CodeOffencePenalty pointsOn Record for…From Date of...

Accident offences


AC10
Failing to stop after an accident5 to 104 yearsOffence

AC20
Failing to give particulars or report an accident within 24 hours5 to 104 yearsOffence

AC30
Undefined accident offences4 to 94 yearsOffence

Disqualified driver


BA10
Driving while disqualified by order of court64 yearsOffence

BA30
Attempting to drive while disqualified by order of court64 yearsOffence

BA40
Causing death by driving while disqualified3 to 114 yearsConviction

BA60
Causing serious injury by driving while disqualified3 to 114 yearsConviction

Careless driving


CD10
Driving without due care and attention3 to 94 yearsOffence

CD20
Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users3 to 94 yearsOffence

CD30
Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users3 to 94 yearsOffence

CD40
Causing death through careless driving when unfit through drink3 to 1111 yearsConviction

CD50
Causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs3 to 1111 yearsConviction

CD60
Causing death by careless driving with alcohol level above the limit3 to 1111 yearsConviction

CD70
Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a specimen for alcohol analysis3 to 1111 yearsConviction

CD80
Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving3 to 114 yearsConviction

CD90
Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers3 to 114 yearsConviction

Construction and use offences


CU10
Using a vehicle with defective brakes34 yearsOffence

CU20
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 condition34 yearsOffence

CU30
Using a vehicle with defective tyre(s)34 yearsOffence

CU40
Using a vehicle with defective steering34 yearsOffence

CU50
Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers34 yearsOffence

CU80
Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone3 to 64 yearsOffence

Reckless/dangerous driving


DD10
Causing serious injury by dangerous driving3 to 114 yearsConviction

DD40
Dangerous driving3 to 114 yearsConviction

DD60
Manslaughter or culpable homicide while driving a vehicle3 to 114 yearsConviction

DD80
Causing death by dangerous driving3 to 114 yearsConviction

DD90
Furious driving3 to 94 yearsConviction

Drink


DR10
Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit3 to 1111 yearsConviction

DR20
Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink3 to 1111 yearsConviction

DR30
Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis3 to 1111 yearsConviction

DR31
Driving or attempting to drive then refusing to give permission for analysis of a blood sample that was taken without consent due to incapacity3 to 1111 yearsConviction

DR61
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 drive1011 yearsConviction

DR40
In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit104 yearsOffence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)

DR50
In charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink104 yearsOffence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)

DR60
Failure to provide a specimen for analysis in circumstances other than driving or attempting to drive104 yearsOffence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)

DR70
Failing to provide specimen for breath test44 yearsOffence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)

Drugs


DG10
Driving or attempting to drive with drug level above the specified limit3 to 1111 yearsConviction

DG60
Causing death by careless driving with drug level above the limit3 to 1111 yearsConviction

DR80
Driving or attempting to drive when unfit through drugs3 to 1111 yearsConviction

DG40
In charge of a vehicle while drug level above specified limit104 yearsOffence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)

DR90
In charge of a vehicle when unfit through drugs104 yearsOffence or Conviction (if licence disqualified)

Insurance offences


IN10
Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks6 to 84 yearsOffence

Licence offences


LC20
Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence3 to 64 yearsOffence

LC30
Driving after making a false declaration about fitness when applying for a licence3 to 64 yearsOffence

LC40
Driving a vehicle having failed to notify a disability3 to 64 yearsOffence

LC50
Driving after a licence has been revoked or refused on medical grounds3 to 64 yearsOffence

Miscellaneous offences


MS10
Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position34 yearsOffence

MS20
Unlawful pillion riding34 yearsOffence

MS30
Play street offences24 yearsOffence

MS50
Motor racing on the highway3 to 114 yearsOffence

MS60
Offences not covered by other codes (including offences relating to breach of requirements as to control of vehicle)34 yearsOffence

MS70
Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight34 yearsOffence

MS80
Refusing to submit to an eyesight test34 yearsOffence

MS90
Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc64 yearsOffence

Motorway offences


MW10
Contravention of special roads regulations (excluding speed limits)34 yearsOffence

Pedestrian crossings


PC10
Undefined contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations34 yearsOffence

PC20
Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with moving vehicle34 yearsOffence

PC30
Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with stationary vehicle34 yearsOffence

Speed limits


SP10
Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits3 to 64 yearsOffence

SP20
Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)3 to 64 yearsOffence

SP30
Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road3 to 64 yearsOffence

SP40
Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit3 to 64 yearsOffence

SP50
Exceeding speed limit on a motorway3 to 64 yearsOffence

Traffic direction and signs


TS10
Failing to comply with traffic light signals34 yearsOffence

TS20
Failing to comply with double white lines34 yearsOffence

TS30
Failing to comply with ‘stop’ sign34 yearsOffence

TS40
Failing to comply with direction of a constable/warden34 yearsOffence

TS50
Failing to comply with traffic sign (excluding ‘stop’ signs, traffic lights or double white lines)34 yearsOffence

TS60
Failing to comply with a school crossing patrol sign34 yearsOffence

TS70
Undefined failure to comply with a traffic direction sign34 yearsOffence

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?

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