QUESTION I passed my driving test on 1st December 2012, and on 5th June 2013 my licence was endorsed with three penalty points for speeding. I now face another three points, also for speeding on 27th November 2014, for which I have received a fixed penalty notice. I thought I was safe from a ‘totting up’ disqualification, as I would have accumulated six points, and not twelve, in a period of three years, but my father has told me that the rules for new drivers are much tougher and that I will lose my licence. Is he right?
ANSWER Your father is correct. There is a two-year probationary period for newly qualified drivers. If a driver accumulates six or more penalty points within two years of first passing a driving test, then his licence will be revoked. This is harsher than a disqualification for a set period, such as a disqualification of at least six months for accumulating twelve points or more in three years (the so-called ‘totting up’ disqualification), because revocation requires that the driver passes a new driving test before having his licence restored to him.
This rule applies even though the points you now face are by way of a fixed penalty notice rather than a conviction in court, so if you have any grounds for defending the charge, you might consider rejecting the offer of a fixed penalty and having your day in court, in view of the impending revocation of your licence. You cannot escape the consequences of these rules by delaying conviction until after the end of the two years period, as the relevant dates are the dates of the offences, not the dates of conviction. If, however, you appeal any conviction, then your rights to drive have to be restored to you until your appeal has been heard.
You should bear in mind that if your licence is revoked and you pass a further driving test so that your rights to drive are restored, the six penalty points are not wiped from the slate, as is the case with twelve or more penalty points accumulated by a driver who is not a new driver, but is disqualified for six or more months under the ‘totting up’ rules. Accordingly, if you accumulate a further six points, or more, after the return of your licence and within a period of three years from the date of the first offence, then you will face a ‘totting up’ disqualification.
Designed by solicitors, tested by barristers and available around the clock, Road Traffic Representation is an online legal system that allows people accused of a motoring offence to get free advice on how the law will be applied in their case, and referral to a telephone helpline and representation by a barrister in court if required. Practising solicitor Martin Langan spent two years designing the system and creating the data repository which allows the software to analyse road traffic offences with the same authority as a solicitor.