Finally passing your driving test is a very exciting time for students. The freedom and independence to drive yourself around and go where you like is a step away from home and towards adulthood. However, it can also be stressful. While passing your test requires understanding theory, many students are still confused about the rules on driving licence points and penalties, and how this can affect their licence to drive. In this article we will explain how the process of penalty points works, and how many new drivers can get before they are banned.
If you gain 6 or more penalty points within 2 years of passing your test, your licence will be cancelled. This means you will not be allowed to drive and will have to take your theory and practical tests again. Penalty points are awarded for driving offences such as speeding, and can also be gained on your provisional licence, in which case they are carried over to your official licence.
While this should have given you a short answer to your question, please read on for the full details of new drivers and penalty points, including legality and how to reapply for your licence if you lose it.
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What happens if you get 6 penalty points as a new driver?
Getting your licence is exciting, but also scary! Suddenly you have a responsibility to take yourself to places and take care of a vehicle. Also, you must be safe on the road no matter what, with no other adult in the car to take care of you.
Many inexperienced drivers are overly cautious while driving, but some still accrue points on their licence within the first short after passing. This is not good, as not only does it mean you are driving unsafely, but also that you could lose your licence very easily.
If you get 6 or more penalty points within 2 years of passing your test, you will have your licence revoked (cancelled). More on this can be found on the government website.
What are penalty points?
Penalty points are a way of signifying that you have committed a “motoring offence” or broken the rules while driving. You can also be fined for these offences. These stay on your record for a number of years, depending on the offence.
A full list of how many points you would get for each offence here from the UK government. Some examples include using a phone while driving (3-6 points that stay on licence for 4 years), and exceeding speed limits (3-6 points that stay on licence for 4 years.
These offences stay on your driver record, which you can see here, on the government website.
If you are not a new driver (have had a full licence for more than 2 years), you need to gain 12 penalty points within 3 years to be disqualified. However, as a new driver, you can only have up to 6 before being disqualified.
What happens if you get disqualified from driving?
If you are disqualified from driving it means you have got too many penalty points, or that you have committed a very serious driving offence. You will have to go to court to learn how long the disqualification will last.
Furthermore, losing your driving licence means your insurance costs will be much higher in future, as this offence remains on your record for 4 to 11 years. Also, it can make it very difficult to get transport to university or college, and your independence may be reduced. You will also not be able to drive as part of your job and may be barred in future after a DBS check from driving others around.
What do you do if you get your driving license revoked?
If your licence is revoked, then you will need to reapply for it. This means going through the complete process again through the DVLA. This may be expensive, as you will have to pay all the costs again.
Furthermore, you will need to pay for another theory and driving test, and some people choose to have extra driving lessons to prepare for this. A guide to where you can learn to drive can be found from Think Student on this page. However, you must not have driving lessons until your ban from driving is over, as this would result in further points being added to your licence and a longer ban.
How long is a driving ban for a new driver?
Typically, if you are not a new driver you will be banned for 6 months for having 12 points on your licence. If you then are disqualified again within 3 years you will get a 1-year disqualification. If you then receive another disqualification within 3 years you will get 2 years. Similar rules apply for new drivers, only with 6 points instead of 12.
If you are disqualified for more than 56 days, you will need to apply for a new licence before driving again. If you are a new driver, you will always have to apply for a new licence after being banned before driving again. This means retaking your driving and theory tests.
How do you reapply for your driving license?
If you want to continue driving and have been previously banned, you must apply for a new licence. As a new driver, you can apply for a new licence at any time, but you will have to wait until the end of your ban to drive again.
You will also have to retake your driving and theory tests to have your licence reinstated. More information about learning to drive, including how long it takes (here) and how much it costs (here) can also be found from Think Student.
You can apply for a new licence by getting a form D1 from the post office, and then sending it off with the correct fee to the address stated on the form. This means you need to fill in all your personal details, and it, unfortunately, cannot be done online. More details on this can be found here, from GOV.UK.
If you want to know more about how long licences take to arrive and be reinstated, please check out this helpful guide from Think Student. Think Student also have a helpful guide to provisional licences, available here.
This new licence will still have the points on from your driving offences, and if you commit another offence or are banned again the same process will take place if it has been less than 2 years since you passed.
How much does it cost to reapply for your driving license?
It typically costs £50 for new drivers to reapply for a licence. More details can be found here from the UK government. You should send this money with the D1 form to reapply, as a cheque or cash, and in some cases, you may be able to send it as a bank transfer, however, check with your local DVLA branch for more information on this.
For more information on how much driving licences cost in the UK, please read this Think Student article.