Whiskey with car keys and handcuffs concept for drinking and driving

A Simple Guide to Driving Offences

Driving is a dangerous game and, as a result, there is an incredibly strict and specific set of rules that need to be obeyed at all times. Breaking any of these rules can land you in incredibly hot water, whether that’s through fines, penalty points or even a ban from driving altogether.

If you’ve been banned or are concerned about your unspent convictions, then Scrap Car Comparison could help you get a good price for your car as it is, allowing you to put some money aside for when you’re able to get back on the road again. Get in touch with the team today at 03333 44 99 50 or use our quick and easy online quote generator and find out just how much your car could be worth today.

Is drink-driving a criminal offence?

One of the most dangerous things you can do on a night out is to have a few drinks and think you’re safe enough to drive home. Sadly, that is absolutely not the case, and on average 540 people are killed through drunk driving every year. As a result, drink-driving is very much a criminal offence under section 5(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. While deaths have dropped significantly since records began in 1979 (when there were almost 1,400 reported deaths caused by drunk driving) the number is still uncomfortably high, and levelled out from 2010 onwards to around 200-220 deaths a year.

Not only can drink-driving result in a criminal record, you could also find yourself banned from driving, receiving an unlimited fine and, if the case is severe, could even find yourself behind bars.

What is an SP30 driving offence?

An SP30 driving offence is likely to be one of the most common driving offences you will encounter. SP30 is the code for “Exceeding Statutory Speed Limit on Public Road”, or in other words, speeding. Many drivers think that an SP30 only applies to speeding within a 30mph limit, but it can apply on anything between 10mph to 60mph – basically any limit found on public roads other than the motorway. If you are caught speeding on the motorway, that would come through as an SP50.

SP30s make up approximately 80% of all driving offences, and should you receive one you will receive a minimum fine of £100 as well as between three and six penalty points on your licence, depending on the severity of your offence. These points will remain on your licence for four years, unless you are given the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course (providing you’ve not been on one in the past five years), which can be taken in lieu of receiving points.

Is driving without insurance a criminal offence?

Driving without insurance is against the law, and doing so can see you fined a fixed penalty of £300, although this could go up to £1000 if your car isn’t being driven but parked on the road, and if it goes to court the fine could become unlimited. You could also lose your car and your driving licence.

Driving without insurance won’t mean you have a criminal record (or be added to the one you may already have) and you cannot be jailed for it. It will, however, appear on your driving licence and you could be banned from driving if the case goes to court.

Is dangerous driving a criminal offence?

Dangerous driving is the most serious motoring office you can commit, short of being at fault in a collision that injures or kills someone. If you are convicted of dangerous driving, then you’re likely to be banned from driving for a year at the very least. There is a chance that you could also face a prison sentence.

Are driving offences criminal?

Most driving offences will, unfortunately, result in you receiving a criminal record. However, these convictions do not stay with you for life, and are usually regarded as ‘spent’ after five years. More serious offences, such as drink-driving, remain on your licence and DVLA driving record for a much longer period.

Do I have to declare driving offences?

When you are applying for insurance, almost all companies will ask you to declare any and all driving convictions that have been accumulated over the past five years. Any convictions that are ‘spent’, usually after five years, need not be declared. Any unspent convictions on your driving record is likely to drive up your insurance premiums, making it harder to find a good price when your renewal comes around.

Is driving with a mobile phone a criminal offence?

As we become more and more attached to our phones, the use of mobiles at the wheel has sadly crept up, and is still an incredibly common occurrence, despite being illegal since 2003. Not only is it illegal to use your phone, but it is also against the law to simply hold a phone or satnav while you’re driving. You may use a dashboard or windscreen-mounted holder, or a Bluetooth headset, but you must not hold them at any time and they must not block your view of the road ahead.

Contravention of this can result in you receiving six penalty points and a £200 fine, and if you’ve had your licence for less than two years, you’ll have it taken away. You can also receive three penalty points if you do not have a clear view of the road ahead. If the case goes to court, you could be banned from driving and receive a fine of up to £1000, or £2,500 if you’re in a lorry or bus.

Is driving without a licence a criminal offence?

Holding a full, valid driving licence is a must when driving unless you are a learner with a provisional licence. To drive without one is absolutely a criminal offence, as is driving a vehicle that you are not licensed to drive. You can see which vehicles you are legally entitled to be in control of on the back of your driving licence under section nine. 

If you’ve been banned from driving due to amassing too many penalty points, or you’re finding a conviction has bumped your insurance premiums up to an unmanageable level, you could simply SORN your car and wait for when the time is right to get back on the road. However, rather than sitting with an unused car on your doorstep, why not scrap or sell it as salvage through Scrap Car Comparison. With a nationwide network of specialist buyers at our fingertips, we can guarantee you the very best price and, no matter where you call home, will even come and collect it from you absolutely free of charge.

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