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The Most Common Traffic Offences and Fines for UK Motorists

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 27 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Driving Offences Common

Around 250,000 motorists are banned from driving each year in the UK. It takes 12 penalty points within three years to receive a driving ban but some common traffic offences can mean an instant driving disqualification.

Your Licence and Driving Disqualifications

Imagine spending hundreds of pounds on driving lessons, passing the test and then receiving a disqualification because of one mistake. This scenario happens to many drivers, especially first time drivers, when they commit common traffic offences. Most driving offences will come with set penalty points but for some offences the courts do have discretionary powers to ban a driver. First time drivers have less leeway under the rules of the New Drivers Act where a licence can be revoked if six points are amassed within two years of passing the test. The driving offences listed below may be common but they result in heavy fines, penalty points and even an instant driving disqualification.

The Most Common UK Driving Offence

Speeding is the most common way for a driver to commit a driving offence. The courts do have discretionary powers when it comes to speeding and there are a number of different fines and penalties that are applicable. The severity of the offence will determine the severity of the punishment and it is not uncommon for drivers to receive an instant disqualification. Penalty points for speeding will be between three and six points with fines reaching a maximum £2,500. A driver exceeding the speed limit by 50% may find themselves with an instant disqualification.

Drink Driving Still a Common Offence

Although it ranks as a serious criminal driving offence there are still over 3000 drink driving related traffic accidents each year in the UK. Additionally, around 100,000 UK drivers fail a drink driving breath test each year when stopped by the police. The seriousness of this offence brings some of the highest fines and penalties. This can include unlimited fines, with a usual fine of around £5000 and a three year driving disqualification. Depending on the severity of the offence prison sentences ranging from three months to 14 years can be applied.

Common Driving Distractions Leading to Penalties

Using a mobile phone and eating behind the wheel are two common distractions that can lead to penalty points and fines. Driving whilst using a mobile phone is an offence that can lead to a maximum fine of £1000 and three penalty points will also be applied. A £200 fine and six points can be applied simply for holding a mobile phone whilst in charge of a vehicle. Other distractions such as eating and even applying make-up whilst driving have led to successful prosecutions. These distractions may seem minor but they can lead to the serious offence of careless or even dangerous driving.

Accidents and Failing to Stop and Report

Another common offence in the UK is failure to stop after an accident. A common example would be a driver who causes a minor accident such as scratching another vehicle with their own vehicle and then drives on. Failing to stop after such a simple accident could actually result in the driver receiving an instant driving ban. Failing to stop and failing to report are classed as two separate offences and drivers can be prosecuted for both even if they did not cause the accident. Fines can reach up to £2,500 with between five and ten penalty points applied to a licence.

No Car Insurance is a Big Risk

Around two million motorists drive every year in the UK without the proper insurance. Police spot checks are common and 300,000 people are caught driving without insurance each year thanks to these checks. Driving without insurance is viewed as a serious offence and fines can reach up to £5,000. Driving bans are not uncommon for this offence and six to eight penalty points can also be applied to a licence. Being convicted of driving without insurance will also mean that the driver’s future insurance premiums are at an increased level as insurers will see convicted drivers as a risk.

Although these are some of the most common driving offences there are many more that come with risks to a driver’s licence and finances. Being prosecuted of a driving offence can be an expensive business. Retaining the services of a lawyer to ensure the best defence, fines and increased insurance premiums can reach into the thousands of pounds mark. Losing a licence can also lead to loss of employment and result in financial hardship for the convicted driver. Common driving offences can occur in a matter of seconds but can take years to recover from.

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[Add a Comment]
Hello! The officer told me that he has stopped me because he saw me with my mobile in my hand. Do you think is any posibility not to receive points on my licence? Thanks!
Costy - 6-Apr-17 @ 4:36 PM
Costy - Your Question:
Hello! I have been stopped by an officer while I was driving a lorry somewhere in Luton area and I belive (I'm not very sure) I kept my mobile in my hand for some seconds because I was using it as a sat-nav but I didn't use it properly. The officer after entering in my cab saw the mobile and also realise it was on the maps application but he gave me a TOR but he didn't told me if I will receive any fine or penalty points, he just told me that I will receive a letter at home. Can you please tell me because I am conffused if I will receive any points on my licence? Would the officer must told me if I will receive any fine and penalty points?

Our Response:
We can't really say as you haven't said why you were stopped. If you are given a Traffic Offence Report, you have to wait for the follow up letter telling you what penalty you've been given.
NoPenaltyPoints - 6-Apr-17 @ 12:52 PM
Hello! I have been stopped by an officer while I was driving a lorry somewhere in Luton area and I belive (I'm not very sure) I kept my mobile in my hand for some seconds because I was using it as a sat-nav but I didn't use it properly. The officer after entering in my cab saw the mobile and also realise it was on the maps application but he gave me a TOR but he didn't told me if I will receive any fine or penalty points, he just told me that I will receive a letter at home. Can you please tell me because I am conffused if I will receive any points on my licence? Would the officer must told me if I will receive any fine and penalty points?
Costy - 5-Apr-17 @ 2:13 PM
A van driver tried to run me down when I was on foot in a busy petrol station. He waited until I was at a fair distance away then put his foot down hard on the accelerator and braked just inches away from me. What will the likely action be from police who are going to watch it back on cctv?
Mia - 16-Nov-16 @ 8:27 PM
Moved house and left my old banger there. Left on bad terms with flatmates. Now we're all mates again and recently picked up mail from last 20 months. One from court for contravention of s.29 VERA with option to plead guilty/not guilty. Only just got the letter! What's likelihood of £1000 fine? What shall I do?
Kev - 4-Nov-16 @ 1:01 AM
Amym - Your Question:
I stopped at a red light today but was stupidly looking at the set of lights then went green to go right when I went straight ahead, I couldn't notice any cameras on top of the lights but there was a tall lamp like poll that could be a camera? I'm a new driver, what will happen now help??

Our Response:
If you have been caught, the usual penalty for running red light is £100 fine plus 3 penalty points. Sometimes you might be offered a driver awareness course as an alternative. If you accrue 6 or more points in the two years after passing your driving test, you lose your licence. You may be lucky and find that you were not caught on camera at all.
NoPenaltyPoints - 24-May-16 @ 12:35 PM
I stopped at a red light today but was stupidly looking at the set of lights then went green to go right when I went straight ahead, I couldn't notice any cameras on top of the lights but there was a tall lamp like poll that could be a camera? I'm a new driver, what will happen now help??
Amym - 23-May-16 @ 1:05 AM
All my points came off next February do I have to till my insurance that I had points on my license
Hastings - 12-Oct-15 @ 3:18 PM
@CG. not sure what you mean...did you get caught a second time with no insurance? How can it then be due for renewal soon?
NoPenaltyPoints - 18-Mar-15 @ 1:49 PM
I was stopped in glasgow charged driving with no insurance £300 fine 6points and confiscated car that was£150to recover i made the mistake moved the insurance on to another car for 2days to get wife to work then drive her car to garage to get fixed and was caught with police. But not sure what to do now 28days to appeal but my car insurance is due before do i tell them about the possibility of points or not as might go to court plead my case any info welcome am a private carer so it might affect my client as i drive him about in his mobilty vehicle there is no one else to do this
Cg - 16-Mar-15 @ 1:33 PM
@patty. What proof have the police offered? Do they have photographic evidence of you actually using your phone? Or do your phone records demonstrate it was used/or not? They will be able to prove it if you were using it. If it was tucked under your leg, they may want to know why? (So do we!)
NoPenaltyPoints - 12-Dec-14 @ 11:48 AM
If driving with mobile phone under you right leg and police stop you and say the reson why they stop you was because you were using your phone and you was not using it and taking you to court what can you do? And what can happen?
Patty - 11-Dec-14 @ 1:23 PM
@sue. I'd say that her car will be seized and her driving licence taken off her...driving a written off vehicle with no tax or insurance is really not a laughing matter and the law (rightly) comes down hard on offences like this.
pamplemousse - 16-Sep-14 @ 2:15 PM
My friend has been driving a sorn car and with no tax mot insurance etc very old car no wing mirrors and lots of rust etc yesterday she bumped into a Mercedes car police claimed the car what will the consequences likely to be please
sue - 14-Sep-14 @ 9:39 AM
Can anyone help with this question, if you go through say 4 variable speed cameras on the motorway a bit over the limit, would you get done for them all or just once because it's the same stretch of road, this is the same road and same day,nobody seems to know the answer to this
Blue - 13-Aug-13 @ 9:52 AM
caught using mobile but cant find paper part of licencegot two days to show police
badger - 15-May-12 @ 11:38 AM
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