In many areas of life there is leniency applied to people who are newly qualified in a certain field, but the legal standpoint on newly qualified drivers is actually stricter, purely because they have less experience and are more likely to cause accidents if they can’t demonstrate safe and lawful driving.  

Any learner driver has to commit significant time and costs to the learning process in terms of both the practical and theory tests, but even when they pass these tests and achieve a full licence permitting them to drive unaccompanied, this can be taken away very quickly if they are caught speeding. 

What is the definition of a new driver?

According to the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995, a “new” driver is defined as a driver still within two years of passing their test and achieving their full licence. This is known as the “probationary period”. 

What happens to a new driver when they are caught speeding?

If the new driver has accumulated six or more penalty points on their licence within two years of passing their test, i.e. within the probationary period, then their licence will automatically be cancelled/revoked. This means they cannot drive. Any points that were previously on a provisional licence and have not expired, will carry over to the full licence and therefore can contribute to this six-point limit. 

The new driver must then apply for a new provisional licence and must also pass both their theory and practical tests again, in order to gain a full licence. Once re-passed, any previous penalty points will stay on the full licence until expired. There is no recourse to argue this licence revocation with the courts or the police because the licence is actually revoked by the DVLA. In extreme cases you can argue ‘special reasons’ why you need to keep your licence – employment or family reasons, for example – but this is a very difficult legal argument to make, particularly as a new driver, and can result in a driving ban plus costs if the case is lost.   

How are speeding offences categorised?

Speeding offences are categorised into three bands, which reflect the severity of the offence: 

  • Band A – A minor offence where the driver has been caught driving just over the speed limit for the road in question. 
  • Band B – A more serious but not extreme offence where the driver has been caught driving significantly over the speed limit. 
  • Band C – A major offence where the driver has been caught driving over the limit to a dangerously high degree. 

How are penalty points attributed to speeding offences?

Any speeding offence carries a minimum of three points, even if it is a minor offence. So a new driver could lose their licence if they are guilty of two minor (Band A) speeding offences within the first two years of their full licence status. A Band B offence carries a discretionary penalty of 4-6 points, while a major offence in Band C carries an automatic six-point penalty and therefore would lead to an immediate licence cancellation for a new driver.  

A fixed penalty offence also carries six points, which could be driving with no insurance or driving while using a mobile phone. Therefore, if you are guilty of a fixed penalty offence you would also have your licence immediately cancelled as a new driver.  

For all driving offence enquires, please contact Ghaz Iqbal. 

We can support you in explaining your legal status in all situations, so contact our team at Ison Harrison today 

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