New Drivers Act and Revocation of Driving Licence

New Drivers Act / Licence Revocation

What is the New Drivers Act?

The Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 applies to every motorist who passed their first full test after 1 June 1997. The main effect of the Act is to impose a 2 year probationary period when the full driving licence is issued. A new driver will be subject to immediate and automatic revocation of their licence should they reach 6 or more penalty points for offences committed in that time. In theory, a new driver would therefore be given one chance by way of a 3 point Fixed Penalty but if two such Fixed Penalties were accepted, or a more serious offence resulted in 6 points, the licence would be revoked.

Whilst points endorsed for offences committed whilst a provisional licence holder will not trigger revocation once a full licence is issued, they remain valid so a driver who transfers points from a provisional to a full licence would face revocation if a further offence is committed. Likewise, it is the date of the offence that is relevant, not the date of conviction. Revocation will still take place even if the two year probation period has elapsed before points are imposed for an offence that occurred within the first 24 months.

I am a new driver. What happens if my driving licence is revoked?

Revocation of a driving licence has an immediate effect once 6 points are reached. It does not require any Court process as it is triggered by the DVLA, so will immediately occur if a Fixed Penalty acceptance takes the new driver to 6 or more points. The licence then remains revoked indefinitely and will not be reinstated until an application is made. Upon application, a provisional licence will be reissued (endorsed with the points) and the driver will be subject to the terms of a provisional licence. When both the theory and practical driving tests are passed again, a full licence will be reissued but the points will remain valid until their third anniversary.

Can the DVLA revoke my licence without prior warning or a Court attendance?

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?

There is no obligation on the part of the authorities to warn you of the process or the fact that you face revocation. It is assumed that you will be familiar with the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995.

How do I avoid revocation of my driving licence?

Whilst revocation is automatic if you reach 6 points, if you can prevent points being endorsed, you can avoid revocation. Consequently, for offences where there is a range of penalty points, it may be possible to ensure that the punishment does not take you to 6 or more. In other cases, it may be more practical to obtain a short period of disqualification instead of penalty points. Although to achieve this, you will have to attend Court, if you can convince the Court to impose a punishment that avoids penalty points, you will avoid revocation.

It is important to understand that whilst the Court has no discretion on whether revocation is imposed should you reach 6 points, it does have discretion on the whether you should receive points, and in some circumstances the number of points, all of which effect the possibility of avoiding revocation. The issues require technical knowledge of the law, so you should seek legal advice if you chose to go to Court.

Legal Advice

My licence has been revoked. Can I appeal?

There is no appeal process via the DVLA so if you have accepted a Fixed Penalty that triggers revocation, you have little option but to apply to retake a driving test. If revocation has followed a Court hearing, you can appeal that decision to a higher Court. You have 21 days in which to lodge an appeal and the revocation will be suspended pending the outcome of the appeal hearing, as long as you lodge a copy of the appeal with the DVLA.

Court Appeal

I have received 6 points but I've not been told that my licence has been revoked. Can I continue driving?

In the normal course of events, the DVLA will write to you giving you 5 days notice of revocation. If you have not received such a letter, it is quite feasible that it has simply got lost in the post and revocation has been imposed without your knowledge. You should check with the DVLA to establish the status of your licence. If it has been revoked and you continue to drive, you not only commit the offence of driving otherwise than in accordance with your licence, but this would also invalidate your insurance which would lead to a further prosecution for that offence as well.

My licence was revoked so I have retaken and passed the driving test. Are the penalty points removed from my licence?

No. The points remain valid for 3 years from the date of conviction, but you are not then subject to any further probationary period or terms as a new driver as probation only applies for 2 years when you pass your first full test. If you reach 12+ points within any 3 year period, you would be subject to a totting up disqualification, as would any other driver.

Does it follow that the New Drivers Act only applies once?

Yes. If your licence is revoked and you then re–pass your test, you will not be subject to the New Drivers Act from that point onwards.

I am a new driver. If I receive an instant driving ban do I have to re–sit the driving test?

No. You would not normally have to re–sit your test unless this was a specific term of the penalty imposed by the Court. In the normal course of events, you would simply serve the disqualification period and your licence would then be reinstated. For a ban of 56 days or more, you would have to formally apply for your licence to be reinstated but this does not require you to take any further test.

I already have 6 penalty points on my provisional licence. Can I actually take a driving test and if I pass, will my licence be revoked immediately the full licence is issued?

Although the points on your provisional licence will remain valid until they expire on their third anniversary and thus would be transferred to your full licence, they will not prevent you taking your driving test. If you pass, a full licence will be issued with the existing endorsements detailed. Whilst they remain valid, any further offence within your probation period would result in revocation, if punished by penalty points.

Can my provisional licence be revoked?

No. The New Drivers Act only applies to full, not provisional licences.

I passed my car test many years ago but I have now passed a bike test, am I subject to the New Drivers Act?

No. The Act only applies to the first full test that you pass. By adding a further category to your licence, you do not start afresh as far as the New Drivers Act is concerned.

I have swapped my foreign licence for a UK licence. Am I subject to the provisions of New Drivers Act?

No. The Act is only triggered when you pass a full UK driving test. If a licence has been granted without you having to pass a driving test, the New Drivers Act does not apply.

I hold a foreign car licence. I swapped it for a UK car licence. I now want to take a UK bike test. How does this affect things?

As this is the first full UK test you have ever taken, if you pass, you will be subject to the New Drivers Act. This means that if you then reach 6 points in the next 2 years, whether it be in the car or on a bike, your UK licence will be revoked.

I have held a non-exchangeable driving licence for many years. Will I be subject to the terms of the New Drivers Act if I pass a UK test?

Yes. Once you pass your test and you apply for a full UK licence, you are subject to terms of the New Drivers Act, regardless of any licence held elsewhere.