Explained: driving offence codes

Committing a driving offence can mean an end to cheap car insurance quotes as insurers are likely to consider you a risky driver and raise your premiums. But how do driving offence codes work and what do they mean for penalty points? Comparison site mustard.co.uk, explains. 

What is a driving offence code?

Every driving offence has its own code. For example, code CD10 means you’ve been caught driving without due care and attention.  

Driving offences are grouped into categories so in the above example, the ‘CD’ prefix represents ‘careless driving’. 

Some of the most common driving offences in the UK include, speeding, ignoring road signs (like failing to stop at a stop sign or at a red light), and driving a defective vehicle. 

What do penalty points mean?

If you commit a driving offence, you’ll be given penalty points which will show on your driving licence. They’ll stay there for either four or 11 years depending on what it is you’ve done.

Each offence corresponds to a set number of penalty points, for example, using a vehicle with defective brakes (code CU10), will earn you three penalty points. Some offences come with a sliding scale of points. For instance, code DD10, causing serious injury by dangerous driving can earn you between three and 11 points. Where there’s a scale, the exact number of points awarded will depend on the seriousness of the incident. 

The official term for giving penalty points is endorsement, so if you’ve committed an offence, your licence will be ‘endorsed’ with points. You can find a full set of offence codes and their matching penalty points at GOV.UK

How many points lead to a driving ban?

If you end up with 12 or more penalty points within three years, you can be banned (disqualified) from driving. You can also be disqualified if you’ve been convicted of a serious driving offence.

If you’re a new driver, it’s important to be aware that you can be banned from driving if you earn six or more points within two years of passing your test. Don’t forget, if you have points on your provisional licence, these will be carried over to your full licence too. 

Do I need to retake my driving test after a driving ban?

This will depend on how long you’ve been banned for. If you’ve been banned for less than 56 days, you won’t have to retake your test and you can get back on the road as soon as the ban comes to an end. 

Being banned for more than 56 days will mean you have to apply for a new driving licence. You may also need to retake the theory and practical test before you can start driving again. 

How do I check my driving licence for penalty points?

You can view all the information on your driving licence at GOV.UK, view or share your driving licence. You’ll need to have:

  • Your driving licence number (line five on the photocard licence)
  • Your National Insurance number
  • The postcode of your address as it is on your licence

Do penalty points increase the cost of car insurance?

Yes, penalty points will lead to an increase in your premiums. This is because you’ll be seen as a riskier driver who’s more likely to make a claim. 

Unfortunately, paying more isn’t something you can avoid either as most insurers will ask you about penalty points and driving convictions from the last five years. If and when they do ask you, it’s crucial to be honest. Not telling your insurer about a driving conviction is called non-disclosure and it can invalidate your policy. It means that if you make a claim, your insurer can refuse to pay out. 

How can I find cheap car insurance for convicted drivers?

Sadly, you can expect to pay higher than average premiums if you have a driving conviction. However, it shouldn’t mean car insurance becomes unobtainable. 

At mustard.co.uk, you can compare quotes from a wide range of car insurance providers, giving you the chance to find a policy that fits your needs at a fair price. You can start your quote online right now or speak to an expert on 0330 022 8812.


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