Rules for new drivers

New Driver Guidance

Any individual who has been driving for less than two years is classed a new driver. This applies whether you drive a motorcycle or car. As a new driver you are only permitted to have up to six points on your licence before it is revoked and you must retake your theory and practical test. 

New Drivers are covered by The Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995. Section 1 states ‘a person’s probationary period, is subject to section 7, the period of two years beginning with the day on which he becomes a qualified driver’. 

Once your licence has been revoked DVLA will retain it until you successfully retake your theory and practical test. 

Magistrates have much less leniency with new drivers in respect of enabling you to retain your licence through totting up procedures. Whereas if an individual, whom has been driving for longer than two years, is at risk of disqualification through totting up procedures, the court can use their discretion to impose a short sharp ban or allow the driver to retain their licence in excess of twelve points. This unfortunately does not apply to new drivers and once you reach or exceed the 6 point threshold, your licence is revoked instantly as an automatic process. 

Something that comes as a surprise to most new drivers is that, having your licence revoked does not mean you licence will return back clean once you resit your test. Any penalty point endorsements will remain on your licence for three years from the date of the original offence. However, the New Drivers Act only allows licences to be revoked once. It’s important to note though, as the points that caused your licence to be revoked remain on your licence, if you are endorsed with further points which accumulate to 12 or more points in total – you will receive a six month ban. 

You can avoid revocation by presenting a special reasons argument to the court to persuade magistrates to not endorse your licence. For this to be successfully you would need to have a relevant special reasons argument (please see our article on special reasons) or good case of mitigation. You also potentially avoid revocation if the court allows you do undertake a discretionary ban (usually up to 56 days) instead of points. This will only be applicable if it is an option for your offence. For example, some speeding charges reference discretionary bans within their sentencing guidelines, dependant on the speed travelled at the time of offence. It’s important to note if you cannot demonstrate either of these options, you may end up in a worse position at court. You could potentially be susceptible to a larger number of points and additional court cost, such an increased fine. This is why it is always helpful to obtain legal advice to obtain the best outcome.

Common Misconceptions for New Drivers

  1. If you receive a fixed penalty notice for an offence such as speeding or no insurance carrying 6 points, accepting this will still result in your licence being revoked. A common misconception is that this offer being made will allow you to retain your licence and this is incorrect.
  2. Anyone who has been driving for more than two years will see their penalty point threshold go up from six points to twelve. If you find yourself in a position where you are reaching twelve points or more, you have the option to present exceptional hardship to try and retain your licence. If successful you could retain your licence even though the threshold had been exceeded. However, new drivers do not have this luxury and even obtaining just six points is instant revocation, there is no opportunity for exceptional hardship to be heard.
  3. ‘The court have to offer a speed awareness course if I haven’t completed one’. Speed awareness courses are discretionary and not obligatory. You will likely be offered a speed awareness course for a minor speeding offence, if you have not completed one before, but there is no guarantee of this. 

If you are a new driver and have been charged with an offence, or have any further questions which have not been addressed above, please call our motoring team on 0330 912 2124

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