Bad driving habits that can lead to points and fines

Eating while driving

How well could you manage without a driving licence? From dropping the kids at school, getting to work or making those fun leisure trips, many of us rely on access to a motor vehicle. Having your licence endorsed with points is a step towards losing this privilege; get 12 points and a driving ban may be the result. You may also face a hefty fine, imprisonment and a community service order.
While most of us are familiar with some of the most common driving offences, such as drink driving or speeding, there are actually more than 70 driving offences that could result in a conviction. Do you have bad habits that could threaten your licence?

Licence endorsement: how it works

In the UK, most driving offences are punishable by a fine and/or penalty points applied to your licence. Each motoring offence, such as driving with a blood alcohol level above the limit or dangerous driving, carries either a set number or a range of penalty points which can be applied.

For example, driving while disqualified carries a set six penalty point endorsement, whereas failing to stop after an accident carries anything from five to ten points. Where there is a range, the courts can choose how many points to endorse depending on the circumstances of the offence. You may also receive points and/or a fine through a Fixed Penalty Notice issued by a police officer without going through the court system.

Penalty points for most offences stay on your licence for four years. The points are effective for three years from the date of conviction, and you can apply to have the points removed from your licence after four years. More serious offences, such as causing death through careless driving or driving while unfit through drink stay on your licence for 11 years.

In most cases, you will be disqualified from driving if you build up 12 points on your licence in any three-year period. If you receive six points within two years of passing your driving test, your licence will be revoked.

The impact of an endorsement on your motor insurance

A criminal conviction of any sort could impact the cost of your motor insurance, and driving convictions are no exception. Insurers will look at the type of conviction, the vehicle type and your age to determine how much of an additional risk you will be as a customer, then price this risk accordingly.

Insurance companies almost always ask you to disclose any driving convictions received in the last five years. If you do not tell the truth about this, your insurance company may refuse to pay out in the event of a claim.
It can also be difficult to find a motor insurer when you have a driving conviction, regardless of the cost of the policy. Fewer companies are prepared to insure drivers with a history of risky driving, so you will have less choice if your licence has been endorsed.

Surprising driving offences that can result in endorsement

By far the most common driving offences that result in points are speeding, whether on the motorway or other roads, and driving without insurance. However, there are other offences that can result in points on your licence. Make sure you drive carefully to avoid these pitfalls.

1. Driving too slowly

Around 140 road accidents occur each year as a result of motorists going too slowly, which is legally classed as ‘inconsiderate driving’. Driving excessively slowly is often a red flag to police that you might be drunk or intoxicated by drugs, so you’re likely to be stopped. If convicted of this offence you could receive nine points.

2. Driving under the influence of prescription drugs

We all know it’s a terrible idea to get behind the wheel when under the influence of illegal drugs, but what about strong medicines? It’s your responsibility as a driver to make sure you are safe to drive. If you are given prescription drugs such as painkillers, you should check with your doctor whether they are safe to use in combination with driving or you could end up with a drug-driving conviction.

3. Hogging the middle lane of the motorway

When we take our test, we all learn that you must drive in the left-hand lane unless overtaking. However, the middle lane is just such a convenient place to hang around; away from slow-moving heavy goods vehicles and free from fast cars in the outside lane. However, since 2013 hogging the middle lane has been an offence, punishable with a fine and licence points. The first person ever prosecuted was handed five penalty points and a £1,000 fine.

4. Splashing pedestrians with a puddle

There is no specific offence of splashing people on the pavement by driving through a puddle, but you could be charged with driving ‘without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road’. Roughly 10 complaints a year are lodged with police about incidents of splashing; if caught, you could be given a penalty charge notice.

5. Eating while driving

Up to 72% of us admit to munching at the wheel on a regular basis. However, this can be a distraction and can involve taking your eyes from the road and your hands from the wheel, leaving you open to a charge of driving without due care and attention.

6. Using a handheld phone at the wheel

Nothing that happens on your phone is more important than the personal safety of you, your passengers and other road users; that’s why using a handheld phone is illegal, even if you are in stationary traffic. Penalties recently increased from three points to six, meaning you may be disqualified from driving if caught twice. If you’re a young driver, your licence could be revoked after a single instance.

If you’ve fallen foul of the law, Computerquote can help convicted drivers get the best deal available. Call the team today for a quote: 0800 389 9949

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Eating while driving

Purposefully splashing pedestrians