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How long do points stay on your licence?

If you commit a motoring offence, it’s likely that you’ll get a fine and penalty points on your licence. But how long do points stay on your licence and what impact could this have?

If you commit a motoring offence, it’s likely that you’ll get a fine and penalty points on your licence. But how long do points stay on your licence and what impact could this have?

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
2 AUGUST 2023
6 min read
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How do I get penalty points on my driving licence?

If you’re caught speeding or committing a motoring offence, you could be fined and have your driving licence endorsed. This means you'll get penalty points added to your licence.

Minor driving offences carry a minimum penalty of three points. But for the most serious offences, such as drink-driving or causing death by dangerous driving, you could receive up to 11 points.

Each motoring offence has an endorsement code. This code goes on your driving record and will determine how many penalty points you’ll get and how long they’ll stay on your licence.

How long do penalty points stay on my licence? 

Penalty points can stay on your licence for four or 11 years depending on how serious the motoring offence was. These endorsements start either from the date the offence took place or from the day you’re convicted.

The table below shows examples of driving endorsements and how long they’ll stay on your record.

How long do points on your licence last?

Offence Penalty points Years on licence
Speeding 3-6 4
Running a red light 3 4
Using a mobile phone while driving 3-6 4
Failing to stop after an accident 5-10 4
Driving without car insurance 6-8 4
Driving while disqualified 6 4
Dangerous driving 3-11 4
Drink-driving 3-11 11
Drug-driving 3-11 11
Causing death by careless driving through alcohol or drugs 3-11 11

If you have a four-year endorsement, the penalty points will only be active for the first three years. Even though they’ll stay on your licence for a further year, they won’t count towards your total points tally. But they will be taken into account by the courts if you commit another offence.

If you have an 11-year endorsement, the penalty points will be active for the first 10 years.

When does the endorsement start – from the date of the offence or the date of conviction?

The date your endorsement starts depends on the offence.

Reckless or dangerous driving offences that result in disqualification stay on your driving record for four years from the date of conviction.

In all other cases, four-year endorsements stay on your driving record for four years from the date of the offence.

An endorsement will stay on your licence for 11 years from the date of conviction if the offence is:

  • Drink driving or drug driving – shown on the driving record as DR10, DR20, DR30, DR31, DR61 and DR80
  • Causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs – shown on the driving record as CD40, CD50 and CD60
  • Causing death by careless driving, then failing to provide a specimen for analysis – shown on the driving record as CD70

When will penalty points be removed from my licence?

The majority of penalty points and endorsement codes are automatically wiped from your licence when they expire.

How much does it cost to have points removed from a driving licence?

You can't pay to have points removed from your driving licence. The only thing you can do is wait for them to expire.

Most expired endorsements will automatically be removed from your driving record when they’re no longer valid. You don't have to pay for a new licence that has expired points removed.

How could penalty points affect me?

Insurance providers and employers can see whether your licence has penalty points on it while your endorsement is still active. This could lead to you missing out on job opportunities and having to pay more for your car insurance premiums.

You could also end up with a driving ban if you get too many points in a short period of time.

Employers and insurance providers can find out if you have an endorsement:

  • At any point during a four-year endorsement
  • At any time during the first five years of an 11-year endorsement, or the first two-and-a-half years if you’re under the age of 18.

What does ‘totting up points' mean?

Totting up is when you commit several motoring offences and end up with more points on your licence. If you build (or tot up) 12 or more penalty points within three years, you could be disqualified from driving.

So if you already have points on your licence, you need to be very careful not to accumulate any more.

If you commit an offence that could result in you reaching 12 penalty points, you’ll be referred to court. The court will decide whether a six-month driving ban should be imposed.

This type of totting up ban is shown as Code TT99 and stays on a driving record for four years from the date of conviction.

Your driving ban could last:

  • 6 months – if you get 12 or more points within three years
  • 12 months – if you get a second disqualification within three years
  • 2 years – if you get a third disqualification within three years.

If you’re disqualified for 56 days or more you must apply for a new licence before driving again.

Some of the rules on driving bans differ in Northern Ireland.

How many points can a new driver get?

Like with any driver, you can be given as many points as automatically required by law for the offences you commit. But their impact can be greater.

As a new driver if you get six points or more within two years of passing your test, your licence will be revoked – in other words, officially cancelled. This means that just two minor speeding offences could tip you over into automatic disqualification.

You’ll need to apply and pay for a new provisional licence, then pass all parts of your driving test again to get a full licence.

If you’re a learner driver and you commit a driving offence, you can still get penalty points on your provisional licence. If you pass your test, any points that remain active on your provisional licence will be carried over to your full licence.

Can I avoid penalty points on my licence?

Apart from not committing an offence in the first place, there’s little you can do to avoid points if you’re caught breaking road laws. However, if you think the charge is unfair, you can always go to court to fight the case. Take legal advice if you choose to do this.

Having said that, if you’ve been caught speeding, it’s possible you could be offered a speed awareness course instead of points on your licence. But this will depend on how fast you were speeding and when you last attended a speed awareness course.

If you’ve been totting up penalty points – never a good thing – you might want to consider a black box car insurance policy. A telematics device fitted in your car monitors your driving habits and sends the information to your insurance provider.

It could help you become a safer driver and lower the risk of getting more penalty points on your licence. If you can demonstrate responsible driving, you might even get cheaper car insurance.

Frequently asked questions

How can I check points on my licence?

Simply go to the ‘View my driving licence information’ page on the GOV.UK portal to check how many points there are on your licence.

To do this you’ll need:

  • Your driving licence number
  • Your national insurance number
  • The postcode on your driving licence.

Do I need to tell my insurance provider if I get points?

You may be able to wait until your renewal date to tell your insurance provider about any penalty points you’ve received. Check your car insurance policy wording to see if you need to tell them straight away.

However, if you're banned from driving, you must tell your insurance provider immediately as they may need to cancel your insurance.

Points on your licence are likely to make your car insurance premiums higher. But it’s always best to be honest about them because providing inaccurate details may invalidate your policy.

How many points can I get on my licence?

It depends on how many motoring offences you commit and within what time frame.

If you get 12 points or more, you’ll usually receive a driving ban and lose your licence.

Some of my points are due to expire. Does this mean I can avoid a totting up ban?

No. If some of your penalty points have expired since you received a court summons, or are just about to expire, it won't affect the outcome. It's the number of points that were on your licence on the date of the motoring offence that will be taken into account by the court.

How long do I have to declare points for insurance?

Car insurance providers tend to keep driving offences on record for five years. When you apply for insurance they will ask whether you’ve had any driving-related convictions, endorsements, penalties, disqualifications or bans within this period.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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