You may have heard people mention 'points' on their license and wondered what they were, so here is a short explanation of how the system works and what you need to be careful of to keep your license intact.

A new, clean drivers license starts with no points - however if the driver is caught breaking various rules a number of penalty points will be added to their license for a period of time. A new driver has to ensure they do not get 6 penalty points for the first two years after they pass their test. If 6 points are amassed during this period the license will be automatically revoked and the driver will have to pass both the Theory and Practical Tests to get back on the road. After this initial 2 years period a driver is allowed to score up to 12 points before they would usually lose their license.

So what are you awarded penalty points for then? There are many different reasons that you might be awarded penalty points, but essentially if you drive safely and ensure your car is roadworthy you should be fine. However, drive dangerously or fail to look after your car then expect to be fined, potentially lose your license and even go to prison.

Here is a summary of a few of the more common offences;

Driving without car tax:                                                no points, but up to £200 fine

Driving without wearing a seatbelt:                              no points, but up to £500 fine

Driving without an MOT:                                              no points, but up to £1000 fine

Driving without (necessary) glasses:                           3 points and up to £1000 fine

Driving through a red traffic light:                                 3 points and up to £1000 fine

Driving whilst using a mobile phone:                            6 points and up to £1000 fine

Driving with a defective (bald or damaged) tyre:         3 points and up to £2500 fine per tyre

Driving without a license:                                             3-6 points and up to £1000 fine

Speeding:                                                                     3-6 points and up to £1000 fine

Driving without insurance:                                            6-8 points and up to £5000 fine

Careless driving:                                                          3-9 points and up to £2500 fine

Failing to stop after an accident:                                  5-10 points and up to £5000 fine

Drink or Drug driving:                                                   driving ban, 3-11 points and up to £5000 fine

Dangerous driving:                                                       driving ban, 3-11 points and unlimited fine

Any penalty points awarded will then stay on your license for a minimum of 3 years, and more serious offences can be up to 11 years. You must inform your insurance of any points you receive, and they may well increase the cost of your insurance if they feel you are now a higher risk to insure.

For more detail on penalty points and possible fines please visit the official gov.uk page here: