There are numerous offences that can be committed whilst driving, most of which incur a fine or, in the case of drink driving or dangerous driving, the loss of a licence and even imprisonment.
OSV believes it’s important to understand the driving laws – and the punishments if the laws are broken. They have therefore created an infographic looking at ten of the most common driving offences in the UK and the typical punishments given if they are broken…
1. Breaking the speed limit
If you go above the speed limit set down for a specific area, you can be fined and have points added to your licence. If you are only a few miles over the limit, you may well get away with having to attend a speed awareness course as punishment. In normal speeding cases, however, you should expect to get the minimum of three points on your licence and a £100 fine.
If you are driving 45% or more over the limit, your case will probably be sent to the magistrate’s court where the fine has the potential to be bigger and could even result in an outright driving ban.
2. Using a mobile phone while driving
We all know that driving whilst using a mobile phone is an offence and the police are starting to crack down more seriously on this kind of behaviour. If caught, you will end up with six points on your licence and a £200 roadside fine.
You could also be taken to court under certain circumstances, which can lead to a driving ban and a higher fine of up to £1,000.
3. Careless driving
This means you have been driving without the normal due care and attention one might consider appropriate for a qualified driver. It includes a wide range of offences such as ignoring a red light or tailgating another vehicle. You should expect three points on your licence and a roadside fine of £100 if caught.
When the case is more serious you will have to go to court and could end up losing your licence and receiving as much as a £2,500 fine. If you caused a fatal crash because of your careless driving, you can be fined an unlimited amount, lose your licence and end up in prison for up to five years.
4. Dangerous driving
Dangerous driving is a step up from careless driving and is a behaviour that falls ‘far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver’. This could include driving down the motorway at very high speeds or purposefully undertaking an act that you know to be dangerous. Points and fines for dangerous driving are always decided by the court and depend on the seriousness of the offence.
You could end up with an unlimited fine and be banned from driving as well as spend up to 14 years in jail.
5. Drink driving
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is, of course, against the law. The limit is different in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (80 mg per 100 ml) compared to Scotland (50 mg per 100 ml). The points and fine given out is decided by the magistrates court but in most cases you will face a driving ban.
In more severe cases you can expect a custodial sentence of up to six months and if an accident was caused by your drink driving (including one involving a fatality) you could receive a longer prison sentence of up to 14 years. You may also need to take an extended driving test if you want to finally get your licence back.
6. Drug driving
Police can also test motorists for driving under the influence of drugs. If you are found to be unfit to drive because of taking either prescribed or illegal drugs, the points on your licence and fine will be decided by the magistrate’s court. Penalties could include being banned from driving for the minimum of a year, an unlimited fine and even a prison sentence of up to 6 months.
7. Driving without insurance
If you are driving on any public road you need to have insurance. Police can check your car nowadays using automatic number plate recognition cameras and quickly find out if you are covered. For those driving without insurance, expect six points on your licence and an on the spot fine of £300. You will not be able to drive the vehicle once you have been stopped and the police have the power to seize the vehicle you are in.
8. Having an unsuitable or improperly fitted car seat for your child
For children of certain ages, you need to have the right car seat fitted to protect them should you have a crash. If a child is in an inappropriate seat for their age or it has not been properly fitted, you can end up with a fixed penalty fine of £30. If the case goes to court, this can rise to a maximum of £500.
9. Driving in a way that is not compatible with your licence
This covers a wide range of offences and means you’re not driving in the way that the licence stipulates. That could include driving without a licence, driving the wrong class of vehicle for your licence, driving whilst you have been disqualified, or even driving a car on a provisional licence without displaying the appropriate L plates.
If caught you can get six points on your licence and be fined up to £1,000. You also risk being disqualified.
10. Driving with no MoT
Once a vehicle is three years old, apart from some older classic cars you need to undertake an MoT for it every year to check that it is roadworthy. Driving when your car is out of MoT can be easily done but can also cost you £100 as an on the spot fine. If the police stop you and find you don’t have an MoT and your vehicle is also unroadworthy, the punishment can be worse.