Exclusive data sourced by Cuvva has revealed the top 20 reasons British drivers are being slapped with penalty points.
A Freedom of Information request by Cuvva found a drop in the number of penalty points being issued for many offences, which is good news for drivers.
But some offences in particular are on the rise - with thousands of drivers paying the price for putting themselves and others at risk.
We’ve broken down the data from January to March 2023 (the most up-to-date period we can analyse), including a special look at uninsured drivers.
Penalty points (also known as endorsements) are added to your driving licence record if you are found to have committed a driving offence.
They can make your car insurance more expensive, and also reduce the number of car insurance options available to you.
They stay on your record for several years (the exact numbers vary depending on the offence). You are disqualified from driving if you get 12 points within a 3 year period (or 6 points if you’re a new driver). It’s serious stuff.
There are a huge number of rules and regulations you agree to respect when you pass your driving test and are given a full licence.
There are way too many to list out in full here (although we do have this useful guide on recent changes to the Highway Code) and it’s up to you to know the rules - ignorance is no excuse.
When it comes to penalty points, however, it’s worth knowing that each offence is given a special code. This code is used by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and the government to categorise and track driving offences easier.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on the 20 driving offences ranked by the number of drivers who received penalty points for breaking them.
We’ll have a full breakdown of the top 20 offences later on - but for now, let’s focus on some of the biggest issues.
Speeding is the most common offence on British roads, with 3 of the top 10 relating to it. In total, across the SP30 (public roads), SP50 (motorways) and SP10 (goods vehicles) offences, almost 200,000 drivers were issued penalty points for speeding. Even though the number has gone down compared to the same period last year, this is still a worrying stat. According to the government’s THINK! anti-speeding campaign, speeding contributes to 1 in 4 fatal road collisions.
Driving uninsured is the most common offence after speeding. Despite it being a legal requirement, the data shows a staggering 10,286 drivers hit the road without cover (IN10). This is totally avoidable when you can get insured in minutes on anyone’s car with short-term insurance.
And one driving offence is substantially on the rise: using a mobile phone at the wheel (CU80). In total, 7,136 drivers were hit with penalty points for this offence - a rise of 35% compared to the same period last year. This reflects a crackdown after changes to the Highway Code last year made it illegal to even touch your phone while driving. That includes browsing playlists when queueing in traffic.
And here’s the full breakdown of DVLA data. We’ve included a description, the official offence code, and the number of drivers hit with penalty points during the first quarter of this year.
|Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road
|Exceeding speed on a motorway
|Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks
|Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, such as using a mobile phone
|Failure to give information as to identity of driver etc
|Failing to comply with traffic light signals
|Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits
|Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence
|Driving without due care and attention
|Using a vehicle with defective tyre(s)
|Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users
|Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of use of unsuitable vehicle or using a vehicle with parts or accessories (excluding brakes, steering or tyres) in a dangerous condition
|Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of load or passengers
|Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users
|Contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations with stationary vehicle
|Failing to comply with traffic sign (excluding ‘stop’ signs, traffic lights or double white lines)
|Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles)
|In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit
|Contravention of special roads regulations (excluding speed limits)
|Failing to stop after an accident
From our data, we can see that more than 10,000 drivers were caught driving without insurance from January to March this year - a jarring statistic.
While this is down on last year, it is nonetheless incredibly worrying that so many drivers are taking to the road without insurance - especially at a time when it only takes a few minutes to get insured to borrow a car using temporary insurance.
As well as IN10 - ‘using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks’, which featured in the top 20 most common driving offences resulting in penalty points - Cuvva also requested information on some other insurance-related offences.
Our data shows that during the same period, 59 drivers were issued penalty points for IN14: ‘Causing or permitting - using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks’. Essentially, this is where someone you know drives without insurance and you are in some way involved. For example, if you lend your car to someone you know isn’t insured. And two drivers were caught after breaking IN12, which refers to someone who has “aided, abetted, counselled or procured” a vehicle which was driven without insurance.
Again, in an era when it only takes a few moments to lend your car to someone, not doing so is inexcusable - and has a direct impact on everyone else’s premium price.
Whether you want to borrow someone else’s car, or lend someone your own, make sure you get a quote. Don’t become a statistic in our next guide!