Key driving offences and their penalties

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With ever more cameras on our streets there’s a good chance you’ll get caught out if you choose to disobey our mass of driving laws; get nicked and you can kiss your clean licence goodbye – pushing up your insurance premium in the process.

These are some of the key ways you can come unstuck while behind the wheel; most offences carry points rather than a disqualification, but notch up 12 points or more (six points if you’ve had your licence less than two years) over a three-year period, and you’ll be banned. 

Notch up 12 points or more (six points if you’ve had your licence less than two years) over a three-year period, and you’ll be banned

For some offences disqualification is mandatory, and even in cases where the court has a power to endorse with penalty points it also has a power to disqualify. You’ve been warned…

Driving through a red light

Obeying traffic lights isn’t optional; go through one on red and you’re guaranteed three points and a £100 fine.

Caught by speed camera

Get snapped driving above the speed limit and that’s three points on your licence plus a 100 quid fine. Contest it when you’re in the wrong and you’ll get up to six points and possibly a £1000 fine; go crazy on the motorway and you could be fined £2500 and suffer an unlimited ban.

Failing to stop at a zebra crossing

This is the same offence as if you fail to take notice of a traffic light that’s on red – which means you get three points and a fine of up to £1000.

Stopping in a box junction

Those yellow lines are there for a reason; you’re not allowed to stop on them, only pass through. The level of fine is set by the local authority, but it’s normal to be stung for 80 quid if you get it wrong.

Dangerous overtaking

Even if it’s a broken white line you’re crossing, overtake when it’s unsafe and you’ll probably be done for driving without due care and attention. That means you’re liable to a fine of up to £2500 and you’ll get 3-9 points on your licence – or you could be banned altogether. Do you really need to get there a few seconds earlier?

Driving with defective tyres

If your tyres are flat, bald or damaged in any way, you can be served with a £2500 fine and three points – for each tyre. So if each corner is duff, that’s your licence gone. Check you have 1.6mm of tread all the way round the tyre, and across at least three-quarters of the width to stay legal.

Using a mbile phone while driving

It’s still legal to use your mobile if you’ve got a bluetooth hands-free kit, even if it’s not to be recommended. However, get caught using it hand-held and you can look forward to three points on your licence plus a 100 quid fine. Crash while texting or making a call and you’ll probably go to jail if you kill someone – it really isn’t worth the risk.

Not in proper control of your vehicle

This can be anything from eating, smoking or drinking to shaving, reading or using a laptop while driving. Do any of these things and you could be fined three points and fined £100 – especially if you crash as a result of your actions.

Drink or drug driving

Get nicked while you’re over the limit or under the influence of drugs, and your licence is history, end of story. You can kiss it goodbye for a year, and if it’s your second offence within ten years you’re on the bus for the next three years. It doesn’t end there though; you can also be jailed for up to six months and be fined up to five grand.

Failing to stop after an accident

If you crunch your car causing personal injury to someone, you have to stop and give your details, then report the incident at a police station. Fail to do these things and you could be banned from driving. Either way you’ll get 5-10 points plus a fine of up to five grand.

Driving with no insurance

Your car has to be insured if you use it on the public road. Drive uninsured and you’ll get stung for up to £5000, you’ll get 6-8 points on your licence, you could be banned indefinitely and you might have to sit a retest. Ouch!

Driving a car with no MoT

It’s easy to forget that your MoT has expired, but do so, keep driving, get caught and you could be fined up to £1000. However, no MoT can mean you also have no insurance, and we all know what that could lead to…

Driving without a driving licence

Now here’s one that doesn’t make sense; get caught driving without a valid licence and you’ll get 3-6 points awarded – but on what? You haven’t got a licence for them to endorse! However, you can also be fined up to a grand, and if you’re caught driving while disqualified you can be put in the slammer for six months, fined £5000 and banned indefinitely.