Are You Falling for These Driving Licence Point Myths?

With about 2,160,000 offences each year, exceeding the speed limit on a public road is the most common cause of licence points and penalties in the UK.

The minimum fine for speeding is £100, accompanied by three points added to your driving licence. Although it may not seem much at first, accumulating points repeatedly over time can cause a few headaches in the long run.

cinch, the faff-free way to buy a car online, has debunked common misconceptions surrounding licence points while clarifying common doubts that can leave drivers baffled at the wheel.

Myth #1: You won’t get points for stationary offences

First things first, the number of points you get on your driving licence depends on the severity of the offence – the more serious the offence, the more points you’ll accumulate.

Sam Sheehan, motoring editor at cinch, explained: “Licence points are given on a scale from one to 11. Speeding tends to get you three points, but in more extreme scenarios, you could receive up to six. On the other hand, if you’re going too slowly you may end up with a nine-point penalty.

“There are many other offences that could leave a mark on your licence. For example, driving while uninsured can lead to up to eight points, while being at the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in 11 points.

“But what about stationary traffic offences? Many drivers aren’t aware that you might still receive points on your licence and a fine as standard.

“For example, parking your car in a dangerous spot or position can lead to a three-point penalty. Likewise, refusing to submit an eyesight test when required to do so by a police offer could land you three points, too.

“So, whether you’re in the driving seat of a used Ford or an Audi, abide by the rules to stay on the right side of the law and keep everyone safe on the road.”  

Myth #2: Points stay on your licence indefinitely

If you’ve committed a ‘minor’ offence, points won’t stay on your licence forever.

In most cases, points will stay on your licence for four years from the date of the offence. Bear in mind, though, that they are active for three years, meaning that any other points you get within that period will add to the total.

While points won’t tally up once the three-year ‘active’ period is over, there is a reason for still having them on your licence for a fourth and final year. This is because, should you commit another driving offence, it gives a judge a chance to take your previous one into account when deciding on your ‘new’ penalty.

For more serious incidents, it’s worth noting that points could sit on your licence for up to 11 years.

If you’re unsure about how many points you have on your driving licence, you can easily access this information through the relevant section on the government’s website.

To access your details, you’ll need to enter your driving licence number, the postcode on your licence and your national insurance number.

Myth #3: You can pay to prevent points on your licence

Think you can steer clear of licence points by paying out a larger penalty fee? Well, the answer is no.

As always, the most obvious way to avoid points on your licence is to stick to the Road Traffic Act and Highway Code guidance.

But if, for example, you’ve been caught doing 40mph on a 30mph road, the only way to avoid piling up the points is by attending a Speed Awareness Workshop (SAW).

You’ll likely need to set aside half a day and pay £80-100 for the session, but it will give you important tips on how to keep safe in the driving seat and cancel your speeding penalty altogether. Keep in mind that you can only attend the course once.

If you don’t attend the workshop or have accumulated points from another offence, you can’t pay to remove points from your licence. You’ll have to wait for the minimum four-year period to end.

#Myth #4: You’ll always get your licence back after a driving ban

One of the most significant consequences of picking up points on your licence is that you could be disqualified or banned from driving once you reach a certain threshold.

Collecting 12 points in the space of three years can result in disqualifications, with bans varying based on the gravity and timings of your offence. For example:

  • If you are issued with 12 or more points within a three-year period, your ban could last six months
  • If you receive a second disqualification within three years, your ban could last 12 months
  • Should you get a third disqualification within three years, your ban could last up to two years

At the end of your disqualification period, keep in mind that you won’t always be handed back your licence straight away.

If you’re banned from driving for 56 days or more, you’ll have to apply for a new driving licence. In some situations, you may even have to retake your driving test before you’re officially re-awarded your licence.

#Myth 5: You’ll only be banned from driving if you get 12 points or more

This isn’t necessarily true, especially if you’re new to the world of vehicles, motorways and driving laws.

Have you only recently started driving? Be mindful that you could have your licence revoked should you get six or more points within two years of passing your test.

#Myth 6: You don’t need to tell insurers about points on your licence

Insurance companies need to be informed about past road offences, as points on your driving licence will almost certainly affect the cost of your car insurance.

Some insurers will present you with more expensive premiums, whereas others – especially if you’ve accumulated several points in recent years – may refuse to cover you at all.

The reason for this is that points on your licence suggest that, at some point in your driving career, you weren’t being responsible at the wheel. In the eyes of the insurance company, this means that you’re a high-risk customer, as you’re more likely to claim on your insurance than motorists with no penalties.

It’s important to be transparent about your driving history with your insurer. Should you fail to tell it about points on your driving licence, both past and present, you could have your cover voided immediately.

So, rather than ending up in a sticky situation, it’s always best to be honest and pay that little extra on your insurance bill.

Has this list of debunked myths surprised you? With all these common misconceptions unmasked, you can jump behind the wheel with more confidence and cruise around town as a knowledgeable, careful driver.