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What is the New Drivers Act?

 

So you have passed your first theory and practical driving tests, and the DVLA have issued your driving licence, you are now legally able to drive on the roads.

Did you know that as a new driver you are immediately subjected to complying with the Road Traffic (New Driver) 1995 Act? If not, please read our guide below to understand what rules and penalties the Act places on new drivers

 

What is the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 and who does it apply to?

The New Driver Act 1995 rules apply for two years from the date of passing their first full driving test to drivers and motorcyclists from:

• The UK, EU/EEA, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands or Gibraltar
• Other foreign countries who have to pass a UK driving test to gain a UK licence, in which case the UK driving test is treated as their
first driving test; and
• other foreign countries who (without needing a test) exchanged their licence for a UK licence and subsequently passed a UK driving
test to drive another type of vehicle, in which case the UK driving test is treated as their first driving test. For example, a motorist who
exchanges a foreign licence (car) for a UK licence (car) and who later passes a test to drive another type of vehicle (e.g. an HGV) will
be subject to the special rules

During these two years, a new driver is subject to instant revocation of their licence, if they reach 6 or more penalty points.

This can mean new motorists are given one chance of accepting a Fixed Penalty and receiving 3 points but if two Fixed Penalties are accepted, or a more serious offence results in 6 points being awarded, the licence would then be revoked.

Driving offences can carry various amounts of penalty points depending on their seriousness and nature. The New Driver Rules do not distinguish whether the points are accrued in one go or are as a result of two minor offences. All that matters is whether 6 points are amassed on the licence before the two-year probationary period is up.

Would my provisional licence also be revoked?

Your provisional licence cannot be revoked as the New Drivers Act only applies to full UK licences.

Will the DVLA revoke my full UK driving licence without prior notice?

Yes. The process is automatic and neither the Police, the DVLA or the Court have any discretion. If you accept a Fixed Penalty Notice which results in 6 points being reached within your first 2 years of driving, your licence will be revoked without any prior warning or a Court appearance.

Do the DVLA, the Police or the Courts have to warn me that my licence could be revoked?

None of the above authorities is obligated to warn you of the process or the fact that you face revocation. The authorities will assume that you are familiar with the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995.

What happens if my driving licence is revoked if I’m a new driver?

If your driving licence is revoked it would be instantaneous once you are awarded 6 penalty points. The licence would remain revoked until a new application for a driving licence is made.

If you apply for a new licence you will receive a provisional licence and will therefore have to retake both the theory and practical test. If and when both the theory and practical driving tests are passed, a full licence will be reissued but the points will remain valid for 3 years from the date of the offence.

Can I avoid revocation of my licence?

Although revocation is automatic if you reach six penalty points on your full driving licence, it is possible to avoid automatic revocation if you can prevent the penalty points from being endorsed in the first place.

· If you can successfully defend the offence allegation, then you will not be given any points, and you won’t face a revocation

· If you present a special reasons argument and your magistrates decide not to impose penalty points

· If the Magistrates agree to give you a discretionary ban instead of points – this is only achievable if a discretionary ban is an option for
your offence according to their sentencing guidelines

It is vital to understand that although the court has no discretion on whether revocation is imposed, if you reach 6 points, the court does have discretion whether to issue points and, in some situations, the number of points, all of which affect the possibility of avoiding revocation.

It is always advisable to seek assistance from a specialist motoring solicitor as soon as you receive a charge sheet or summons for any driving offence. It is best to seek advice as quickly as possible to put a defence forward or keep any disqualification to the shortest possible period.

Can I appeal if my driving licence has been revoked?

Unfortunately, you cannot appeal to the DVLA if you have accepted a Fixed Penalty that initiates revocation of your driving licence. You have to retake your driving test (both parts). If revocation has followed a Court hearing, you can appeal that decision to a higher Court.

You have 21 days to submit an appeal and the revocation will be suspended until the outcome of the appeal hearing, providing you lodge a copy of the appeal with the DVLA.

The driving offence occurred within the 2 year probation period, but the court hearing date is after – will my licence still be

If the total number of penalty points on your licence is six points or more, and the most recent offence occurred during your probation period then yes, your licence will be revoked.

It doesn’t matter what date the points are placed onto your licence, the key date is the date of the offence. If this date is within your probationary period then your licence will be revoked.

Can I still drive if I have received 6 points but I’ve not been informed that my licence has been revoked?

On most occasions, the DVLA will write to you providing 5 days’ notice of revocation. If you don’t receive such correspondence from the DVLA, the letter might have got lost in the post, and revocation has probably been imposed without your knowledge.

To be on the safe side, you should check with the DVLA to confirm the status of your licence, because if you continue driving while your licence is revoked, you not only commit the offence of driving otherwise than in accordance with your licence, but this would also invalidate your insurance, leading to further prosecution for that offence as well.

I have got 6 points on my provisional licence, can I sit my driving test, and if I do, will my licence be revoked?

You can go ahead and take your driving test because your licence won’t be suddenly revoked. However, if you accumulate any further penalty points during the first two years after passing your test then you will have your licence revoked at that time.

If my licence was revoked but I have now retaken and passed my driving test, are the penalty points removed from my licence?

The simple answer is no. The penalty points will remain valid on your driving licence for 3 years from the date of the conviction. However, you are not then subject to any further probationary period or terms as a new driver. The probation period only applies for two years after you’ve taken and passed your first driving test.

Please note that if you reach over 12 penalty points within any 3 year period, you would face being disqualified from driving, like any other motorist.

What happens if I had a foreign driving licence?

The New Drivers Act only comes into force when you pass a full UK driving test. If you have been granted a licence without having to pass a driving test, the New Drivers Act would not apply.

If however, you have to take a driving test then you will be subject to the New Drivers Act as it would be the first UK driving licence that you would have taken.

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