Driving Endorsements and the Penalty Point System in the UK.
Driving endorsements, and the penalty point system, is a method by which driving offences and motoring violations are recorded both centrally, on the Official Driver's Record, and on the offending individual's driving licence in the UK. Through this means repeated offences add cumulative penalty points and, as these penalty points accumulate, the risk of a driving disqualification also rises. Licence endorsement information is only made available to the Police and Courts of Law in the UK.
Endorsements are the codes used to define and classify motoring offences. Each code has a selection of letters and numbers, and relate to individual categorisations of motoring offences.
The letters designate the class of the offence e.g. 'causing death by careless driving' has a classification code of CD. The numbers alongside the letter classification explain the nature of that offence within that class.
For example: the number 70, allocated with the class CD denotes that the nature of the offence is 'causing death by careless driving and failing to provide a specimen for analysis', whereas 'causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs' is denoted by the endorsement codes CD40, CD50 and CD60.
There are also specific endorsement codes for:
For example: code DD10 is the code for 'driving in a dangerous manner'. And DD16 is the code for 'inciting someone to drive in a dangerous manner'.
Driving offences most often have a monetary cost in the form of a fine, as well as the endorsement of the individuals driving licence with the motoring offence endorsement code and the associated penalty points applied to that code. Endorsement codes are centrally recorded on your Official Driver Record and are also added to the Driving Endorsements Section of the paper counterpart of the photographic licence/ old style paper licence.
Driving endorsements can be classified under general offence-related headings. These are:
Driving endorsements are allocated and recorded for a specific time period, depending on the offence committed. The recording time periods are as follows:
Eleven (11) Years:
Four (4) Years from date of conviction:
Four (4) Years from date of offence:
Each endorsement code carries a designated range of penalty points, which are also added to the driving licence. The penalty number of points imposed in relation to a corresponding motoring offence is at the discretion of the court/magistrate and is often dependent on the circumstances of the offence committed, and the extent and circumstances of previous motoring violations that are recorded on the individual's Driver Record.
In the UK, penalty points operate through a totting-up system. If, within a period of three (3) years, an individual accummulates 12 points or more, they are liable for disqualification. The endorsement code that would then appear on the individual's Driver Record and the Endorsement Section of their driving licence is TT99. The recording time period for this endorsement code is four (4) years.
Most driving endorsements, and their corresponding penalty points, stay on the Driver's Record and the individual's driving licence for either a period of eleven (11) years (for offences that cause death or involve substance abuse) or four (4) years (most others). Some codes require that the recording date is taken as the date of offence, others as the date of conviction. In some cases a magistrate can impose a lifetime driving ban.
Under the Road Traffic (
) Act 1995, any new driver who accummulates 6 points or more within the first two years of passing their test is also liable for disqualification.
Driving offences do not always result in a court action. Traffic Wardens and Police Officers are empowered to use a fixed penalty system to enforce motoring law in the UK. This means that they have the power to issue individuals with a notice of conviction related to a specific motoring offence, in the form of a 'fixed penalty notice', and offer the individual that this violation can be dealt with by the Fixed Penalty Office, rather than a Court of Law. If this offer is accepted, the individual pays the standard fixed fee that is applied to that violation and the licence is sent to be amended with the relevant motoring offence endorsement code at their local Fixed Penalty Office.
The fixed penalty system is not available if the totting-up system indicates that the individual has reached a level that results in driving licence disqualification due to the accumulation of penalty points that takes the individual over the penalty point limit as a result of repeated driving violations. In this case, a Court Order would be issued and the driver would face disqualification.
For an individual to lose their driving licence they have either totted up more points than they are allowed to accummulate, or they have committed a traffic offence that puts themselves and/or others at risk.
A SPD (short period disqualification) does not require that the licence be surrendered to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). It is endorsed at the Court and returned to the licence holder immediately. After the period of disqualification, usually fifty-six (56) days, the licence holder can resume driving.
For most licence disqualifications the licence is surrendered to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). Once the period of disqualification has expired, it is necessary to re-apply for a new driving licence. The DVLA will usually send a Form D27P (Driving Licence Application for Renewal After Disqualification) fifty-six (56) days prior to the disqualification expiry date. The instructions on how to complete the form; what supporting evidence of identification is required; whether a new passport photograph is required; and details about the appropriate fee will be enclosed with the Form.
In some cases it will be necessary to re-sit the Driving Theory Test and/or the Practical Driving Test before a licence will be issued. Advice on this can be obtained from the DVLA.
A period of disqualification may be shorter than the recording period of the offence. In this case, the disqualifying period may expire, and the licence holder is able to drive again, but the driving endorsement will remain on the licence for the required time period. Any further motoring violations could, therefore, result in a further ban if an offence is committed prior to the removal date of the endorsement.
The Cost of Driving Endorsements and Penalty Points.
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