Penalty Points – totting up

They say that 3 is a magic number, well when it comes to penalty points the magic number is 12. It’s when you accumulate 12 points on your licence within a 3 year period that you will be at risk of a disqualification of at least 6 months. This is commonly known as totting up. A disqualification can have a huge impact on your life, your job and your family, not to mention your wallet.

As any driver knows, penalty points are the punishment for the majority of driving offences, usually 3 points per offence. They can be imposed by a Court or by accepting a conditional offer of fixed penalty. Every point has an impact, they will remain relevant for totting up purposes for 3 years, they will usually remain on your licence for 4 years and you will have to declare them for insurance purposes for 5 years.

When imposed by a Court there is often a range of points that the Court can consider for any offence, for example driving without due care and attention ranges between 3-9 points, whereas failure to stop/report an accident ranges from 5-10 points, speeding can be between 3-6 points and driving without insurance is between 6-8 points. The Court will consider mitigation in every case before them, they will then decide, dependent on the specific circumstances of your case, how many points is the most appropriate.

Seemingly unimportant points can become a big problem further down the line. A single point can make the difference between losing your licence or keeping it.  Using a mobile phone whilst driving can be dealt with by a fixed penalty of 6 points, but imagine if you then miss the renewal on your car insurance and are charged with driving without insurance, before you know it you will have reached that magic number.

If you are a new driver then the magic number is halved to 6 as your licence will be automatically revoked if you receive 6 points within 2 years of passing your test. This is not a disqualification but it will mean that you won’t be able to drive again until you have re-taken all parts of your test, which can take several months. This means that you could easily lose your licence for committing one offence, for example, driving without insurance or using a mobile phone.

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