How to check points on driving licence

How to check points on driving licence

Having points added to your licence or even receiving a driving ban can seem a scary prospect. You may want to keep track of how many points you have.

But how do you actually check your driving licence points? We’ve put together this blog to help you keep track of everything you should know.


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How do I get points on my licence?

Pretty much every driving offence in the UK can be punished in some way with penalty points. These ‘endorsements’ are added to your licence in varying amounts, depending on the offence, and getting too many can lead to a driving ban. We’ll get to what counts as ‘too many’ shortly.

Here are some examples of driving offences that might cause you to have points added to your licence and how many points you could get:

  • Not complying with traffic light signals (like running a red light): 3 points
  • Breaking the speed limit: 3 points minimum, but could be up to 6
  • Using a mobile when  driving: 6 points
  • Drink driving: 3 points minimum, but could be up to 11
  • Dangerous driving: 3 points minimum, but could be up to 9

The government has a full list of driving offences and their potential punishments here.

If you would like to learn more about penalty points, you can check out our blog ‘How many points for speeding?



How many points can you get on your licence?

The question of how many points you can get on your licence is really how many points can you get before you get a driving ban, or a ‘disqualification’. The flat answer is if you get 12 or more points on your licence within a 3-year period, you could face an automatic 6-month driving ban. If you get another 12 points within 3 years of getting your licence back, you could get a 12-month ban. Another 12 points 3 years after that could get you a 2-year ban.

The points for most offences last  for 4 years. Some offences stay on your driving record for up to 11 years, for example for drink driving. These points don’t technically contribute towards your 12-point total after the first 3 years, but they can be taken into account by a court if you commit another offence within that time.

If you’re  disqualified from driving for more than 56 days, you usually have to reapply for your licence when your ban is over. You might even have to retake your driving test. If you’re a new driver and get 6 points on your licence within 2 years, you’re fairly likely to get a driving ban and have to fully retake both your theory and practical tests to get a new licence. Any points you get on a provisional licence will carry over when you get your full licence.


If you would like to learn more about provisional licences, you can check out our blog ‘Can you drive with a provisional licence?



How to check how many points are on your driving licence

Checking how many points are on your driving licence is a pretty simple process. The government has a dedicated page to help you easily check all the information for free. All you’ll need to check your points is:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Your driving licence number
  • The postcode on your driving licence

Once you enter this information online you can:

  • View your driving record (e.g. to check what vehicles you can drive)
  • Check your penalty points or disqualifications
  • Create a licence ‘check code’ so you can share your driving record


How are points removed from a driving licence?

Points stay on your licence and contribute towards your 12-point maximum for 3 years, but they can stay on your driving record for up to 11 years, depending on the offence. For most minor offences they’ll only stay on your record for 4 years. Once the penalty expires, they will then be automatically removed from your driving record.

There is no way to have penalty points removed from your licence before the end of their validity period, you just have to wait until they’re removed. You can’t choose to pay a fine or anything like that. This is because a court may want to take into account previous offences when considering a current offence. So, even though points can’t get you an automatic ban after 3 years, a court could still decide to give you a driving ban if you have accumulated a number of serious offences over a 10-year period.



Do I need to surrender my driving licence for points?

If you are given penalty points for a driving offence, you’ll need to surrender your licence to either the police, a fixed penalty office (FPO), or to a court. This depends on the offence and who is charging you. If you’ve lost your driving licence you’ll need to get a replacement before you can have your points added. If you’re just adding points, they’ll be added to your licence and driving record and your licence will be returned to you.

In some cases your licence will not come back to you, and will be sent to the DVLA instead. The court or FPO can send your licence to the DVLA if:

  • Your licence has been taken away by the court
  • You’re a new driver facing a driving ban
  • You gave the court an invalid licence
  • You have informed the DVLA that your address has changed (they’re supposed to send it back to you within 3 weeks in this case)

For more information on making changes with the DVLA, you can check out our blog ‘DVLA change of ownership - How to let them know



A few final tips…

Checking the points on your driving licence is actually pretty simple then. All it takes is a few bits of info entered on a government website and you can see your entire driving record. Here are a few other things to keep in mind when checking the points on your driving licence:

  • Points can only contribute towards an automatic driving ban for 3 years, but they can stay on your record for much longer
  • You can get up to 12 points on your licence within 3 years before getting an automatic ban
  • The only way to have points removed from your licence is to wait, you can’t pay to have them taken off
  • If you have points added to your licence you’ll have to surrender your licence to an FPO, a court, or the police
  • Penalty points used to show on the paper part of your driving licence but, now that most of us don’t have that, you can only check them online

Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.