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Everything you need to know about penalty points

  • Everything you need to know about penalty points

Discover what penalty points are, how they work, and more...

If you find yourself on the wrong side of any driving laws, consider your card marked — or your driving licence, to be exact. Many motoring offences are punishable by points on your licence — but what are they, how do you get them, and how long do they stick around on your record? We’ll take a look at all of this and more in this article. 

What are penalty points? 

Also known as endorsements, penalty points are added to your driving licence if you are convicted of a motoring offence. This means that your licence is ‘endorsed’ by the courts, and they can affect your insurance premiums by flagging you as a driver that’s committed an offence. 

The more serious the offence, the more points get added. However, they do get taken off your licence eventually depending on the way in which you got them. 

How can you get penalty points? 

You can get penalty points by being found to have committed any motoring offence, such as speeding, careless driving, using a mobile phone at the wheel, or driving a defective vehicle. This should give you an idea of how many points you can get for various offences (those this is in no way an exhaustive list of offences): 





Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs


Driving without insurance


Dangerous driving 


Careless driving


Driving a defective vehicle


Driving whilst disqualified


Causing death or serious injury by driving whilst disqualified


Driving whilst using a mobile phone


What’s the maximum number of points can you get on your licence? 

If you’re new to driving, you’re only allowed to accumulate a maximum of 6 points on your licence before your licence is revoked. 

For everyone who has two years or more of driving under their belt, this is doubled, so you’ll be disqualified from driving if you are assigned more than 12 points over a 3-year period. This disqualification period is at the discretion of the courts, but you could be looking at between 6 months to 3 years without a licence. 

In order to get your licence back after a ban, you’ll need to retake your driving test and get yourself a new licence. For drivers disqualified within two years of first passing their driving test, another provisional licence and theory test is thrown into that mix before the practical test and full licence too. 

How long do penalty points stay on your licence? 

You can expect penalty points to remain valid anywhere between 4-11 years, depending on the severity of the offence. 

For example, points given for speeding may be removed from your licence after 4 years have passed, but causing death by dangerous driving will see points last for a maximum of 11 years.

Who needs to know about points on your licence? 

The one party who will need to know about your penalty points are car insurers, and you’ll usually find that these will negatively affect the price of your premiums. You’ll usually need to disclose quite a few key details about the convictions such as the date, the endorsement code, the length of any driving bans, and whether the conviction was related to an accident. 

Certain employers may also need to be made aware of your driving convictions if a new role involves driving, as they will also need to let their insurers know if you’re going to be driving company vehicles. 

It’s important to always be honest and declare any driving convictions if required to do so. 

How can I find out how many points are on my licence and when they’ll be removed? 

You’re able to check your driving licence record via the GOV.UK website, where you can enter your details and see how many points you have on your licence. You’ll also be able to see when they’ll be removed from your record.