A person can only drive on the road in the UK if they hold a current driving licence, either full or provisional, which is appropriate to the type of vehicle they are driving. There are different rules for holders of a non GB licence which can be read here.
Penalty points and disqualification
Some offences which will attract penalty points are:
- excess speed
- careless or dangerous driving
- defective or illegal tyres
- using a mobile telephone whilst driving
- dangerous condition of vehicle
- contravention of red traffic signals or solid white line systems.
Most of these will involve a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice and three penalty points endorsed on your driving licence, although if you are reported to court both the fine and the penalty points can be increased at the discretion of the Magistrates Courts.
If you are convicted of some driving offences they can also carry prison sentences along with a mandatory driving disqualification and discretionary driving test re-take (or extended test), namely offences of causing death by dangerous driving, dangerous driving, causing death by careless driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
You will automatically be disqualified if you are convicted of any of the following offences:
- Driving with excess alcohol or failing/refusing to provide a sample of breath.
- Dangerous driving.
- Aggravated taking of a vehicle without an owner's consent.
Following a disqualification the existing points will be removed from the licence but the licence will refer to the disqualification for four years (11 years for alcohol or drug driving offences).
Once you pass your driving test you are on a probationary period lasting for two years. This means that, should you accumulate six penalty points on your driving licence within that period, you will automatically revert back to a provisional licence holder entitlement until you re-take and pass your test again (both theory and practical parts).
There are certain rules which must be followed when driving or learning to drive using a provisional licence.
All provisional driving licence holders when driving a car on the road must:
- Be accompanied by a full licence holder who is over 21 years of age and has held a full British or EU licence for the class of that vehicle for a minimum three years.
- Display red L plates on the front and rear of the vehicle.
Please note: It is recommended that green P or L plates are displayed on a vehicle by a person who has recently passed their test. This lets other drivers know that they should allow some consideration to a new driver on the road. However, this is not a legal requirement.
The motorcycle rider licensing rules changed as of 1st February 2001. The main changes were:
- An exemption from compulsory training certificate (CBT) for those who already hold a full licence in another class within category A.
- A two-year life on all CBT course completion certificates issued from 1st February 2001.
- Car drivers passing their test after 1st February 2001, must complete a CBT course before riding a moped.
- All driving tests for both learner car drivers and motorcycle riders will include a theory test.
- Full motorcycle entitlement granted after 1st February 2001 no longer provides full category B1 entitlement (light motor cars, motor tricycles and motor quad cycles).
- Separate categories depending on age and size of motorcycle: AM mopeds, A1 light motorcycle, A2 motorcycle, A motorcycle. For further details of the motorcycle categories, see Routes to your motorcycle licence
Please note: Provisional Category B car licences and provisional Category A licences now only cover you to ride motor tricycles if you have a physical disability. Driving tests for three wheeled vehicles are only available for physically disabled drivers.
If you’re not physically disabled and want to ride a motor tricycle you need to get the right provisional entitlement and pass CBT.
You can drive a motor tricycle of any power rating if both of the following are true:
- you are over 21
- you have a full car driving licence.
You need a full Category A1 motor bike licence to ride motor tricycles up to power output 15 Kilowatts (kW), and a full Category A motor bike licence to ride trikes with a power output more than 15 kW.