Nightmare before Christmas – how to avoid unexpected points on your driving licence

By Stuart Snape, Managing Partner, Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors

As Christmas approaches, the last thing any of us want or need leaving under the Christmas tree or in our Christmas stocking are points on our driving licence.

But as we embark on the festive season there are plenty of unexpected ways you could find yourself breaking the law. In fact, by the time you get to the office you could have accumulated enough points to keep you out of the car until next Christmas.

Here, we take a look at some of the most unexpected ways you could end up with points on your licence.

You wake up in the morning and you find your windscreen frozen. It’s far too cold to stand outside scraping the blasted thing so you decide to pop outside in your dressing gown and turn on the engine to warm it up and defrost while you go back inside for a cup of tea and a healthy dose of Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.

Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act confirms that a stationary engine idling is an offence punishable by a fine and up to three penalty points.

Knowing this, you change our mind and decide you will scrape the ice away after all. But time is ticking and your boss has already warned you about being late. You throw on your wellies scrape a small square section into the windscreen so that you have visibility of the road ahead of you.

Here comes a further three penalty points for “causing or likely to cause danger by reason of use of an unsuitable vehicle in a dangerous condition”. The full windscreen should have been cleared.

Unfortunately those wellies you threw on are wet and icy and your foot slips on the accelerator and you hit a car at traffic lights.

Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that motorists should ensure “clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner”.

There’s another three points.

Luckily your car is still driveable, but you’re really running late. You decide the only thing that will keep your boss happy is a McDonalds breakfast. You call into the drive through and swipe your phone through the machine. Unfortunately your engine was still running and you have just used your phone at the wheel. There goes another six points.

Technically you could have had enough points to be banned and you haven’t even got to work. Luckily there were no police at McDonalds and you celebrate by cranking your radio up to full volume and dancing along to the Christmas tunes as you head to the office.

Unfortunately this time there is a policeman in the area who also happens to hate the Slade Christmas classic. You manage to escape with three points and a £100 on the spot fine.

You arrive at work, park up and breathe a sigh of relief. You only have nine points, your boss loves his McDonalds breakfast and you’re now tucked up nice and warm in the office.

In fact by the end of the day you are so pleased that you have managed to avoid losing your licence your Christmas spirit starts to overflow and you decide to crack open the champagne with your work mates. One thing leads to another and before you know it you’re sleeping on the back seat of your car. Even though the engine is off, you have no intention of driving it, a passing policeman spots you. Intoxicated whilst in charge of a motor vehicle is an offence and your now staring at another 10 penalty points.

Unlike Chris Rea, you won’t be driving home for Christmas!


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