Most common motoring offences and penalties

If you drive, whether for work use or for personal use, there are a number of offences and potential penalties that you should be aware of. Here are the most common ones:

Speeding

Depending on the speed and location you were caught travelling at, the penalty ranges from three points on your license to an automatic disqualification including fines between £60 and £2,500. Minor speeding offences are usually resolved through a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), which means that you will not have to appear in court. However, on some occasions, the offender may also be given the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course. If you do not agree with the alleged speeding offence, then you would have to provide a defence and you will then be able to dispute this in court. However, if you are unable to convince the court of your version of the events, then this could result in you having to pay an increased fine and incurring further legal costs.

Excessive speeding

Incidents in which it is alleged that excessive speeding has taken place are taken a lot more seriously. If you were above the speed limit by 20mph or more, this could potentially lead to a prosecution. If you are ultimately convicted, you could receive a fine of up to £1,000 or up to £2,500 if the offence occurred on a motorway. It is also very likely that you could receive 3-6 points on your driving license.

Dangerous driving

This is a statutory offence and includes acts such as aggressive driving, racing on the roads, and driving a vehicle with a serious dangerous defect. It could lead to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years, or a fine, or both. It is also very likely that you could be disqualified for twelve months after which you may then have to resit your driving test.

Drink driving

One of the most serious offences is driving while under the influence of alcohol which can be very dangerous for both the person driving and other road users. You could be given a minimum disqualification period of twelve months and if a further offence is committed within ten years, then it can be increased to up to 36 months. You could also potentially be given a prison term of up to six months. Furthermore, if you caused a person’s death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol, then this could result in fourteen years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, a ban from driving for at least two years or an extended driving test before your licence is returned. It should also be taken into account, that if and when you are legally allowed to drive again, it will be very difficult to obtain cheap car insurance as car insurance costs increase very significantly after a drink driving conviction.

Driving without insurance

Driving without insurance is one of the more serious offences and can result in a £5000 fine, eight penalty points or even a period of disqualification. It is also important to note that even if you have a fully comprehensive policy, if you allow someone else to drive your car who isn’t covered to do so (even if they say they are), then it is still you that will be ultimately held liable.

Failing to stop at a red traffic light

If you fail to stop at a red light and it is detected by an automatic camera then you will firstly be offered a ‘Red Light Ticket’ which is £100 fine and three points on your license. However, if you already have nine points or more on your license then this could lead to not only a fine up to £1000 but also disqualification under "totting-up" provisions. Totting up disqualifications can be imposed when a driver reaches twelve or more penalty points through the culmination of one or more offences in any three year period.

Using your phone when driving

It’s illegal to use your phone while driving or riding a motorcycle unless you have hands-free access. This law still applies if you are stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic. You can get six penalty points and a £200 fine if you are caught using a hand-held phone behind a wheel. Furthermore, you can also be taken to court where you can be disqualified or get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus). It is also worth noting for new drivers, if you passed your driving test in the last two years, you’ll lose your licence and will have to retake your driving test.

Driving whilst disqualified

If you drive whilst you are disqualified, you are committing a serious offence and could face instant arrest. A fine and an extension of your driving ban will be the minimum penalty. However in more serious cases, this could also result in up to twelve months in prison and a fine of up to £5000. If you are in need of assistance with any motoring offences or penalties, then Health Assured are here to help. Telephone number 0844 8922 493 Email counsellingadvice@healthassured.co.uk Portal www.healthassuredeap.com

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