DRIVING - LEGAL INFORMATION
LEGAL OBLIGATIONS OF DRIVERS AND KEEPERS OF VEHICLES
There are duties and obligations you must meet before driving or keeping a vehicle on the road. You must also inform the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of any changes to your personal or vehicle details.
Before you drive
To drive a vehicle you must:
- hold the appropriate driving licence for the vehicle being driven
- meet driver minimum age requirements
- meet the legal eyesight standards
As a learner driver you must:
- be supervised by a qualified driver (The supervising driver must be 21 years old and have held a full driving licence for 3 years)
- display L plates
Before taking a vehicle on the road
The vehicle must:
- be registered with the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
- have a valid vehicle tax disc
- hold a current MOT test certificate (A brand new car does not require an MOT certificate until it is three years old)
- have the minimum of third party insurance which covers your use of the vehicle
Tell DVLA of changes
You must tell the DVLA if you:
- change your address and or name
- make any alterations to your vehicle
- sell your vehicle
- develop or have a medical condition
ENDORSEMENTS AND PENALTY POINTS
Endorsements codes and penalty points
Each endorsement has a unique offence code and is allocated ‘penalty points’ on a scale from one to eleven, depending on the severity of the offence. The endorsement (and penalty points) is updated on your driver record and written on your paper driving licence or the counterpart document of your photocard driving licence.
How long endorsements stay on your driving licence
An endorsement must stay on your driving licence for the following periods of time:
Eleven years from date of conviction
If the offence is:
- drinking or drugs and driving - shown on the licence as DR10, DR20, DR30 and DR80
- causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs – shown on the licence as CD40, CD50 and CD60
- causing death by careless driving, then failing to provide a specimen for analysis – shown on the licence as CD70
Example: Date of conviction is 3 December 2002 - the endorsement must stay on the licence until 3 December 2013.
Four years from the date of conviction
If the offence is for:
- reckless/dangerous driving - shown on the licence as DD40, DD60 and DD80
- offences resulting in disqualification
- disqualified from holding a full driving licence until a driving test has been passed
Example: Date of conviction is 28 May 2004 – the endorsement must stay on the licence until 28 May 2008.
Four years from the date of offence
In all other cases.
Example: Date of offence 10 June 2005 – the endorsement must stay on the licence until 10 June 2009.
'Totting-up' penalty points
If you build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of three years, you’ll be liable to be disqualified under the 'totting-up' system. This is shown on your licence as TT99.
Information on your driving entitlement and endorsements are sent to the courts and police on request.
New Drivers Act
Your driving licence is automatically revoked (withdrawn) if you build up six or more penalty points within two years of passing your first driving test.
Producing your driving licence for endorsement
You’ll need to produce your driving licence to the police, fixed penalty office (FPO) or when you appear at court.
If your driving licence is lost, you can get a duplicate on-line, by phone or by post.
If your driving licence is not returned after being endorsed, you’ll need to contact the FPO or court responsible for endorsing your driving licence. If you’ve changed address, or your licence is damaged or the endorsement area is full, the FPO or court will send your driving licence to DVLA to be updated. It will be returned to you within three weeks.
Removing expired endorsements from your driving licence
You can apply to remove expired endorsements by exchanging your driving licence for a new one.
Expired endorsements are automatically removed when you apply to renew or update your licence for other reasons.
Check endorsement details
You can check:
- the counterpart document of your photocard driving licence
- your paper driving licence
If you’ve lost your driving licence and need to check your endorsement details you can check on-line (if your driving licence was issued after making an on-line application) or by phoning DVLA customer enquiries.
Incorrect endorsement details shown on your driving licence
Contact the convicting court for advice.
Short period disqualification (SPD)
If you’re disqualified for less than 56 days, the court will stamp your paper driving licence or counterpart document and give it back to you. The stamp shows the disqualification period and you don’t need to renew your licence. The licence becomes valid and you can return to driving after the disqualification ends.
Disqualification periods of 56 days or more
If you’re disqualified for 56 days or more you’ll need to apply to renew your driving licence before you can return to driving.
Disqualification under the ‘totting-up’ system
If you build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of three years, you’ll be liable to be disqualified under the 'totting-up' system.
Generally, you can be disqualified from driving for:
- six months if you get 12 penalty points or more within three years
- 12 months if you get a second disqualification within three years
- two years if you get a third disqualification
Disqualification until test pass or extended test pass
If you're disqualified until test pass or extended test pass, to regain your full driving licence you'll need to apply for a provisional driving licence and retake a theory and practical driving test.
If you're disqualified until extended test pass, you'll have to sit an extended practical driving test.
To regain your full entitlement to drive all categories of vehicles you previously held, you'll need to pass a test in category B (car).
Disqualification for alcohol related offences
If you’re disqualified for some alcohol related offences, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will make medical enquiries before your driving licence can be renewed.
These offences are:
- disqualified with an alcohol level of over 200mg in 100ml of blood, or 87.5mg in 100ml of breath, or 267.5mg in 100ml of urine
- two disqualifications within 10 years for drinking and driving, or being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink
- disqualified for refusing or failing to supply a specimen for analysis
As well as paying a higher fee to renew your driving licence, you may also have to attend and pay for a medical examination.
How to check when your disqualification ends
You can check:
- the D27 reminder sent by DVLA - it gives the date the disqualification ends
- on-line - if your driving licence was issued after making an on-line application
- by phoning DVLA customer enquiries
Reducing the period of a disqualification
You can ask the court to reduce the period of your disqualification after serving:
- two years of the disqualification period if the disqualification was for more than two years but less than four years
- half the disqualification period if the disqualification was for more than four years but less than 10 years
- five years of the disqualification period if the disqualification was for 10 years or more
You’ll need to apply in writing to the court that disqualified you, giving the date of offence, date of conviction and any information to justify your request. If successful, the court will notify DVLA of the decision. You can then apply to renew your driving licence.
If the court refuses your request, you’ll have to wait three months before you can ask the court again.
Mutual recognition of driving disqualifications
There is mutual recognition of driving disqualifications between Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Isle of Man.
If you change your name and address while disqualified
You can notify DVLA of a change of name and address while you’re disqualified. Write to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AB giving details of your old and new address, name if changed, your driving licence number (if known) and date of birth.