New Drivers and the Law
Thursday, 23rd June 2016
Passing your driving test is a milestone for any individual, whether you are a young adult or coming to driving later in life. Being able to drive initially provides additional freedom and independence; however, a driving licence very quickly becomes something that you rely upon, for example getting to and from work, supporting family members or even partaking in social or sporting interests. It is only when your driving licence is put at risk that you realise the devastating consequences that will arise if you were no longer able to drive.
Passing a driving test demonstrates that you have been able to meet the minimum requirements on a theoretical and practical level, but this is one of the very first steps of the learning process. It is at this point that you really start to build your experience of driving and dealing with a variety of traffic conditions. This is part of the reason that all new drivers are subjected a two year probationary period, where they are only allowed to accumulate a total of 6 penalty points. So what does this mean in practice?
If you accumulate 6 or more penalty points within two years from the date of first passing your UK driving test to the date of the offence, (including points endorsed on a provisional licence), your driving licence will automatically be revoked by the DVLA. The Court has absolutely no discretion in the revocation process; therefore no matter how much mitigation you provide it will not alter the outcome if penalty points are endorsed. The reality of revocation is that you will have to retake both your theory and practical tests again. Ultimately there will be a financial cost associated with booking and retaking your test, along with the fact that you will be unable to drive for approximately 3 months (depending on the waiting list to re-sit your test).
There are a number of offences for which 6 or more penalty points can be imposed, so by making just one simple mistake, you could be at risk of having your driving licence revoked. For example, driving at a speed of 41mph in a 30mph limit if considered at Court would put you at risk of 4-6 penalty points or a 7-28 day disqualification. Driving at a speed of 51mph in a 30 zone will instantly put you at risk of 6 penalty points or a 7-56 day disqualification. Driving without insurance carries 6-8 penalty points, failing to provide driver information carries 6 penalty points, and driving without due care and attention carries between 3-9 penalty points.
During the 4 year period between 2009 - 2013, a total of 48,983 new drivers had their driving licences revoked. If you find yourself at risk of obtaining 6 or more penalty points within the first 2 years of passing your test you should seek legal advice in an effort to avoid revocation. Representations can be made to the authorities to consider educational courses as an alternative to penalty points. Although the Court has no discretion regarding revocation, it is frequently possible that they may be persuaded to impose a short period of disqualification as opposed to imposing penalty points. This will mean that you will not have to re-take your driving tests.
If you require assistance with an criminal road traffic offence, please contact Rob Readfern of Ashfords LLP on 01392 333893 for initial advice.