Motoring Offences

If motoring offences are committed you will be punished and most likely receive at least one of the following:

  • penalty points
  • a driving ban
  • a driving fine
  • a prison sentence

There are many motoring offences and some carry much harsher penalties than others. Penalties range from driving licence penalty points along with a driving fine (and sometimes of a substantial amount of money), driving bans, and in some more serious offences a prison sentence. Countless times every day motoring offences occur and individuals are prosecuted relating to many driving related offences.

Some of the more serious motoring offences/driving convictions are:

  • Dangerous Driving; A person who drives a vehicle dangerously
  • Causing death by dangerous driving; Formerly referred to as reckless driving and causing death by reckless driving.
  • Careless or inconsiderate driving; Driving a vehicle without due care and attention.
  • Driving while unfit; Driving a vehicle while unfit – for example, unfit after taking drugs, or whilst suffering from a medical condition which prevents you from being able to drive.
  • Driving with excess alcohol: Where the proportion of alcohol in the drivers body exceeds the legal limit.

General Motoring Offences

For detailed information about all other motoring offences and penalty and driving endorsements click the following links:

If you need a solicitor relating to a motoring offence, email basic details of your offence to enquiries@needasolicitor.com  and we will put you in contact with a suitable solicitor within 24 hours. 

Driving Licence Laws

Driving without a valid licence
Driving licence laws in the UK make very clear that driving without a valid licence is a criminal offence and if caught you will find yourself with a fine of up to £1000 and between 3 and 6 penalty points. See also penalty points and endorsements and totting up 12 points.

Photo Card Licences
The photo on the licence is only valid for 10 years therefore all UK photocard driving licences need to be updated every 10 years. Drivers will not need to retake a driving test but will of course need to submit a new photo of how they currently look. The licence expiry date can be found in the section marked 4b on the front of the photocard.
IF YOU DO NOT UPDATE YOUR LICENCE BY THE DATE SPECIFIED YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW AND COULD BE FINED £1000.
This started to happen in July 2008, and the DVLA started to issue reminders in May 2008.
The expiry date on the paper part of the licence however will be the holders 70th Birthday.

Change of name and/or address
If you change your name, address or both you must inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) immediately. You can update your driving licence online or send it to the DVLA to be amended. A new licence will be issued free of charge unless your photograph’s due for renewal.
Failure to notify the DVLA of any changes to your name and/or address is a criminal offence and you could be fined up to £1000.

Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions may affect your driving and you must notify the DVLA if you suffer from some conditions.
You will be required to complete a medical questionnaire which enables you to provide the DVLA with specific details about your medical condition or disability. The questionnaire also asks you to give consent for a DVLA medical adviser to request medical information from your doctor. DVLA aim to make a decision from the information you provide.
Having given consent and if further information is required, the medical adviser may:
• contact your own doctor or consultant
• arrange for you to be examined by a locally appointed medical officer or local consultant or specialist
• ask you to undergo a driving assessment, eyesight or driving test
Failure to notify the DVLA of any medical condition which may affect your driving is a criminal offence and you could be fined up to £1000.

Surrendering your licence on medical grounds
If you have developed a medical condition that makes driving unsafe you may be told to stop driving immediately. You should surrender your driving licence to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Your doctor will advise you when you are well enough to start driving again.
Failure to surrender your licence when told to do so may result in the DVLA revoking your licence.

When you reach 70
Your driving licence entitlement will expire when you reach the age of 70 and if you want to continue to drive, the entitlement will need to be renewed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Your renewed licence will normally be valid for three years. Three months before your 70th Birthday you will be sent an ‘application for renewal of a driving licence’.
Once the DVLA has received your valid application you are allowed to drive before you receive your new licence as long as you:

  • have held a Great Britain or Northern Ireland licence issued since 1 January 1976 or another exchangeable licence
  • are not disqualified from driving
  • have not been refused a licence for medical reasons or for failing to comply with medical enquiries
  • would not be refused a licence for medical reasons (if in doubt, check with your doctor)
  • keep to any special conditions which apply to the licence

If your licence is destroyed, lost, stolen or defaced.
You must replace your driving licence if it has been lost, stolen, defaced or destroyed. This can done over the telephone, online or by post.
You can drive before you receive your licence as long as you:
• have held a Great Britain or Northern Ireland licence issued since 1 January 1976 or another exchangeable licence
• aren’t disqualified from driving
• haven’t been refused a licence for medical reasons or for failing to comply with medical enquiries
• wouldn’t be refused a licence for medical reasons – if in doubt, check with your doctor
• keep to any special conditions that apply to your licence

Driving while disqualified
Driving whilst disqualified is an arrestable offence and prison sentence is a  possibility. At the very least you should expect a further ban as well as a fine.

Penalty points and Endorsements


If you are convicted of a motoring offence, the courts can fine you and endorse your driving licence with penalty points. Penalty points and endorsements must stay on your driving licence for four or eleven years depending on the offence.

Motor Insurance Companies maintain endorsements on your driving licence for five years instead of four years.

An endorsement must stay on your driving licence for the following periods of time (see the table below for motoring offence codes)

Eleven years from date of conviction if the offence is:
• drinking or drugs and driving – shown on the licence as DR10, DR20, DR30 and DR80
• causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs – shown on the licence as CD40, CD50 and CD60
• causing death by careless driving, then failing to provide a specimen for analysis – shown on the licence as CD70
Example: Date of conviction is 3 December 2002 – the endorsement must stay on the licence until 3 December 2013.

Four years from the date of conviction if the offence is for:
• reckless/dangerous driving – shown on the licence as DD40, DD60 and DD80
• offences resulting in disqualification
• disqualified from holding a full driving licence until a driving test has been passed
Example: Date of conviction is 28 May 2004 – the endorsement must stay on the licence until 28 May 2008.

Four years from the date of offence in all other cases.
Example: Date of offence 10 June 2005 – the endorsement must stay on the licence until 10 June 2009.

Fixed Penalty Notices
Most speeding offences would normally be dealt with by way of a Fixed Penalty Notice. This usually results in 3 penalty points and a £100 fine.

Speeding Summons / Court Summons / Citation (Scotland)
In cases where a Court process has been issued, the offence carries between 3 and 6 penalty points or a discretionary ban. The fine can range from £100 to £1,000 for offences on non–motorways and up to £2,500 for motorway offences.

Each endorsement has a unique offence code and is allocated penalty points on a scale from one to eleven, depending on the severity of the offence. The endorsement and penalty points are updated on a drivers record and written on a paper driving licence or the counterpart document of a photocard driving licence.

Driving Offence Codes
Table of Driving Offence/Conviction Codes and penalty point range for each type of offence.

ACCIDENT OFFENCES

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
AC10 Failing to stop after an accident 5-10
AC20 Failing to give particulars or to report
an accident within 24 hours
5-10
AC30 Undefined accident offences 4-9

DISQUALIFIED DRIVER

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
BA10 Driving whilst disqualified by order of court 6
BA30 Attempting to drive while disqualified by
order of court
6

CARELESS DRIVING

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
CD10 Driving without due care and attention 3-9
CD20 Driving without reasonable consideration
for other road users
3-9
CD30 Driving without due care and attention or
without reasonable consideration for
other road users
3-9
CD40 Causing death through careless driving
when unfit through drink
3-11
CD50 Causing death through careless driving
when unfit through drugs
3-11
CD60 Causing death through careless driving
with alcohol level above the limit
3-11
CD70 Causing death through careless driving
then failing to supply a specimen for
analysis
3-11
CD80 Causing death by careless or inconsiderate
driving
3-11
CD90 Causing death by driving: Unlicenced,
disqualified or uninsured drivers
3-11

CONSTRUCTION AND USE OFFENCES

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
CU10 Using a vehicle with defective breaks 3
CU20 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
3
CU30 Using a vehicle with defective tyre(s) 3
CU40 Using a vehicle with defective steering 3
CU50 Causing or likely to cause danger by
reason of load or passengers
3
CU80 Using a mobile phone while driving a
motor vehicle
3

RECKLESS/DANGEROUS DRIVING

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
DD40 Dangerous driving 3-11*
DD60 Manslaughter or culpable homicide while
driving a vehicle
3-11*
DD80 Causing death by dangerous driving 3-11*
DD90 Furious driving 3-9

* where the court chooses not to disqualify as a result of
special reasons

DRINK OR DRUGS

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
DR10 Driving or attempting to drive with
alcohol level above limit
3-11*
DR20 Driving or attempting to drive while unfit
through drink
3-11*
DR30 Driving or attempting to drive then failing
to supply a specimen for analysis
3-11*
DR40 In charge of a vehicle while alcohol level
above limit
10
DR50 In charge of a vehicle while unfit through
drink
10
DR60 Failure to provide a specimen for analysis
in circumstances other than driving or
attempting to drive
10
DR70 Failing to provide specimen for breath test 4
DR80 Driving or attempting to drive when unfit
through drugs
3-11
DR90 In charge of a vehicle when unfit through
drugs
10

* where the court chooses not to disqualify as a result of
special reasons

INSURANCE OFFENCES

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
IN10 Using a vehicle uninsured against third
party risks
6-8

LICENCE OFFENCES

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
LC20 Driving otherwise than in accordance with
a licence
3-6
LC30 Driving after making a false declaration
about fitness when applying for a licence
3-6
LC40 Driving a vehicle having failed to notify a
disability
3-6
LC50 Driving after a licence has been revoked
or refused on medical grounds
3-6

MISCELLANEOUS OFFENCES

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
MS10 Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous
position
3
MS20 Unlawful pillion riding 3
MS30 Play street offences 2
MS40 Driving with uncorrected defective
eyesight or refusing to submit to a
test
3
MS50 Motor racing on the highway 3-11
MS60 Offences not covered by other
codes
As appropriate
MS70 Driving with uncorrected defective
eyesight
3
MS80 Refusing to submit to an eyesight
test
3
MS90 Failure to give information as to
identity of driver etc
6

MOTORWAY OFFENCES

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
MW10 Contravention of Special Roads
Regulations (excluding speed limits)
3

PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
PC10 Undefined Contravention of Pedestrian
Crossing Regulations
3
PC20 Contravention of Pedestrian Crossing
Regulations with moving vehicle
3
PC30 Contravention of Pedestrian Crossing
Regulations with stationary vehicle
3

SPEED LIMITS

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
SP10 Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits 3-6
SP20 Exceeding speed limit for type of
vehicle (excluding goods or
passenger vehicles)
3-6
SP30 Exceeding statutory speed limit on a
public road
3-6
SP40 Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit 3-6
SP50 Exceeding speed limit on a motorway 3-6
SP60 Undefined speed limit offence 3-6

TRAFFIC DIRECTION AND SIGNS

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
TS10 Failing to comply with traffic light signals 3
TS20 Failing to comply with double white lines 3
TS30 Failing to comply with “Stop” sign 3
TS40 Failing to comply with direction of a
constable/warden
3
TS50 Failing to comply with traffic sign
(excluding – stop -signs, traffic lights
or double white lines)
3
TS60 Failing to comply with a school crossing
patrol sign
3
TS70 Undefined failure to comply with a
traffic direction sign
3

SPECIAL CODE

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
TT99 To signify a disqualification under
totting-up procedure. If the total of
penalty points reaches 12 or more
within 3 years, the driver is liable to
be disqualified
see
offence

THEFT OR UNAUTHORISED TAKING

CODE OFFENCE PENALTY
POINTS
UT50 Aggravated taking of a vehicle 3-11*

* where the court chooses not to disqualify as a result of
special reasons

Changes to penalty levels and example offences*
(Effective from 16 August 2013)

Careless driving offences previously dealt with in court are now to be dealt with by the police who have new powers to issue fixed penalty notices. This enables them more flexibility to deal with offences less serious like tailgating and middle lane hogging.  The police are also able to offer educational training courses as an alternative to licence endorsement. Drivers are still able to appeal any decision in court.

£30 non-endorsable Fixed Penalty Notice becomes £50

Examples include:

  • Neglect of traffic regulations (e.g. failing to conform to traffic signs – give way, roundabout vehicle priority, box junction road markings)
  • Negligent use of motor vehicle (e.g. not in proper control, driver not having full view ahead, opening door as to cause injury)
  • Vehicle registration and excise licence offences (e.g. not displaying tax disc, registration mark not easily
  • Motorway offences (e.g. stopping vehicle on hard shoulder)
  • Vehicle or Part in Dangerous of defective condition (e.g. windows not clear and unobstructed, no windscreen wipers)
  • Neglect of Pedestrian Rights (e.g. driving elsewhere than on the road)
  • Lighting offences (e.g. lamps not showing steady light, misuse of head/fog lamps)
  • Noise offences (e.g. causing unnecessary noise, sounding horn at night)
  • Load offences (e.g. exceeding weight restriction)
  • Cycle and motorcycle offences (e.g. cycle on foot path, not wearing protective headgear for motorcyclists)

£60 endorseable Fixed Penalty Notice becomes £100

Examples include:

  • Using a mobile phone whilst driving
  • Speeding offences
  • Motorway offences (e.g. reversing on a motorway, driving on hard shoulder/central reservation)
  • Careless driving (e.g. tailgating, middle lane hogging)
  • Neglect of traffic directions (e.g. not stopping at red traffic light)
  • Neglect of Pedestrian Rights (e.g. stopping within limits of zebra/pelican/puffin crossing)
  • Load offences (e.g. danger of injury due to number of passengers or manner in which they are carried)
  • Motorcycle offences (e.g. carrying more than one passenger)

£60 non-endorseable Fixed Penalty Notice becomes £100

Examples include:

  • Failure to wear a seat belt whilst driving
  • Vehicle test offence (use of motor vehicle without test certificate)
  • Miscalleneous offences (failure to display vehicle licence)

£120 endorseable Fixed Penalty Notice becomes £200

  • Duty to identify driver

£200 endorseable Fixed Penalty Notice becomes £300

  • Driving without third party insurance

Police forces are also able to offer careless drivers the option of speed awareness courses or other forms of training for fixed penalty notice offences such as speeding.
Although penalty levels have increased, penalty points will not change. Fixed penalty notices for parking, waiting and obstruction offences remain unchanged.

*Credible information source: Automobile Association (AA)

Totting Up 12 Points


These points (along with all endorsable offences and disqualifications) will be recorded on your driving licence for ‘totting up’ purposes for three years, however a longer period must pass before you can apply to the DVLA to have them removed from the licence. The DVLA charge a fee for this process.
You can apply for endorsements to be removed four years from the date of the offence, and for disqualifications four years from the date of conviction. The main exception to this rule is for certain drink-driving offences where the period is 11 years from the date of conviction.

Driving Ban/Disqualification
If you receive 12 or more points in a three-year period the court guidelines state that you will be liable to automatic disqualification of at least 6 months. The disqualification period will be at least 12 months if there has been a previous ‘totting up’ disqualification within three years of the last offence

Penalty Points
Penalty points are given by courts for some of the traffic offences which fall under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 and the Road Traffic Act 1988. A minimum of 2 points are given for some lesser offences and a maximum of 11 points for more serious offences. Some incidents can result in points being given for multiple occurrences of the same offence, for example for having more than one defective tyre. The majority of offences will land you with 3 or more penalty points.

Court
Courts have the discretion not to disqualify, or to reduce the period of disqualification, when they consider that mitigating circumstances exist, but the law restricts what they are able to take into account.

They are unable to take into account:
• any circumstance where an individual who has committed the offence try’s to insinuate that the offence was less serious than it actually was
• any circumstance where an individual has already had a conviction resulting in court within the last three years, and the court either did not disqualify or reduced the disqualification period which would otherwise have been imposed at the time
• the Court will not recognise hardship as a mitigating circumstance unless it is exceptional hardship. An exceptional hardship argument must be put forward and it is up to the court to reach a conclusion. The potential loss of a job does not necessarily amount to exceptional hardship. It is strongly advisable to seek expert legal advice before preparing any submission of exceptional hardship.

FOR THE MOST UP TO DATE INFORMATION ON MOTORING CONVICTIONS AND PENALTIES VISIT DIRECTGOV.UK

Car and Motor Vehicle Tax Laws

If you fail to purchase tax for your vehicle and you drive the vehicle on the road or park on a public road, you may be breaking the law under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994.

UPDATE
From 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer need to be displayed on a vehicle. If you have a tax disc with any months left to run after this date, then it can be removed from the vehicle and destroyed. This includes customers with a Northern Ireland address, however they will still need to display their MoT disc.
SOURCE: .GOV.UK

Frequently asked questions.

What is the penalty for not taxing your vehicle?

Driving Without Road Tax:

  • Fine up to £1,000 or 5 times the annual road tax fee, whichever is the greater amount.  You may also be liable to pay back duty.

Causing or allowing someone to drive without road tax:

  • Fine to a maximum of £1,000 unless the vehicle can carry more than 8 passengers, when the fine rises to a maximum of £2,500.

Using a vehicle when declared off road (has a Statutory Off Road Notification – SORN):

  • Fine up to £2,500

Using a vehicle when liable to pay road tax at a higher rate:

  • Fine up to £1,000 or 5 times the difference between the tax rates calculated at the annual rate.  You may also be liable to pay back duty.

How much does road tax cost?

Cars and light goods vehicles registered before 1 March 2001
The rate of vehicle tax is based on engine size for cars and light goods vehicles registered before 1 March 2001.

Private/light goods (TC11)

Engine size (cc) 12 months rate 6 months rate
Not over 1549 £140.00 £77.00
Over 1549 £225.00 £123.75

Cars registered on or after 1 March 2001
The rate of vehicle tax is based on fuel type and CO2 emissions for cars registered on or after 1 March 2001.
The rates are split into bands depending on CO2 emissions – the lower the emissions, the lower the vehicle tax.
CO2 emission details are shown on the car’s V5C registration certificate, or you can find emission details online.
The following 2 tables contain the ‘standard’ rates of vehicle tax for cars that are already registered.

Petrol car (TC48) and diesel car (TC49)

Band CO2 emission (g/km) 12 months rate 6 months rate
A Up to 100 £0.00 Not available
B 101-110 £20.00 Not available
C 111-130 £30.00 Not available
D 121-130 £105.00 £57.75
E 131-140 £125.00 £68.75
F 141-150 £140.00 £77.00
G 151-165 £175.00 £96.25
H 166-175 £200.00 £110.00
I 176-185 £220.00 £121.00
J 186-200 £260.00 £143.00
K* 201-225 £280.00 £154.00
L 226-255 £475.00 £261.25
M Over 255 £490.00 £269.50

*Includes cars with a CO2 figure over 225g/km but were registered before 23 March 2006.

Alternative fuel car (TC59)

 
Band CO2 emission (g/km) 12 months rate 6 months rate
A Up to 100 £0.00 Not available
B 101-110 £10.00 Not available
C 111-120 £20.00 Not available
D 121-130 £95.00 £52.25
E 131-140 £115.00 £63.25
F 141-150 £130.00 £71.50
G 151-165 £165.00 £90.75
H 166-175 £190.00 £104.50
I 176-185 £210.00 £115.50
J 186-200 £250.00 £137.50
K* 201-225 £270.00 £148.50
L 226-255 £465.00 £255.75
M Over 255 £480.00 £264.00

*Includes cars with a CO2 figure over 225g/km but were registered before 23 March 2006.
First year rates – cars registered on or after 1 April 2010

These rates are for a vehicle’s first road tax (when it’s first registered).
Road tax after this is charged at the rates shown in the ‘Cars registered on or after 1 March 2001’ table above.

Petrol car (TC48) and diesel car (TC49)

 
Band CO2 emission (g/km) 12 months rate 6 months rate
A Up to 100 £0.00 Not available
B 101-110 £0.00 Not available
C 111-120 £0.00 Not available
D 121-130 £0.00 Not available
E 131-140 £125.00 £68.75
F 141-150 £140.00 £77.00
G 151-165 £175.00 £96.25
H 166-175 £285.00 Not available
I 176-185 £335.00 Not available
J 186-200 £475.00 Not available
K 201-225 £620.00 Not available
L 226-255 £840.00 Not available
M Over 255 £1065.00 Not available


Alternative fuel car (TC59)

 
Band CO2 emission (g/km) 12 months rate 6 months rate
A Up to 100 £0.00 Not available
B 101-110 £0.00 Not available
C 111-120 £0.00 Not available
D 121-130 £0.00 Not available
E 131-140 £115.00 £63.25
F 141-150 £130.00 £71.50
G 151-165 £165.00 £90.75
H 166-175 £275.00 Not available
I 176-185 £325.00 Not available
J 186-200 £465.00 Not available
K 201-225 £610.00 Not available
L 226-255 £830.00 Not available
M Over 255 £1,055.00 Not available

Other vehicle tax rates

Light goods vehicles (TC39)
Registered on or after 1 March 2001 and not over 3,500kg revenue weight

Vehicle 12 months rate 6 months rate
Light goods vehicle £220.00 £121.00

Euro 4 light goods vehicles (TC36)
Registered between 1 March 2003 and 31 December 2006 and not over 3,500kg revenue weight.

Vehicle 12 months rate 6 months rate
Euro 4 light goods vehicles £140.00 £77.00

Euro 5 light goods vehicles (TC36)
Registered between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2010 and not over 3,500kg revenue weight

Vehicle 12 months rate 6 months rate
Euro 5 light goods vehicles £140.00 £77.00

Motorcycle (with or without sidecar) (TC17)

Engine size (cc) 12 months rate 6 months rate
Not over 150 £17.00 Not available
151-400 £37.00 Not available
401-600 £57.00 £31.35
Over 600 £78.00 £42.90

Tricycles (not over 450kg unladen) (TC50)

Engine size (cc) 12 months rate 6 months rate
Tricycle not over 150 £17.00 Not available
All other tricycles £78.00 £42.90

Trade licences

Vehicle 12 months rate 6 months rate
All vehicles £165.00 £90.75
Bicycles (only) not over 450kg £78.00 £42.90
Tricycles (only) not over 450kg £78.00 £42.90

Where do I purchase vehicle tax?

Vehicle Tax may be purchased online via the DVLA’s vehicle online service, or in a participating post office (please note, not all post offices can process vehicle tax).

How long will my vehicle tax be valid?

You can purchase tax for 6 or 12 months.

What documents do I need to purchase vehicle tax?

To obtain a vehicle tax you will need:

  • A valid MOT certificate (if the vehicle is more than 3 years old)
  • A valid insurance certificate
  • Proof of ownership of the vehicle which will either be the log book (V5) or the reminder that the DVLA has sent you.

Are any vehicles exempt from requiring tax?
(Information taken from .Gov.UK)

Yes, some vehicles are exempt and do not have to pay for tax, however, vehicles that are exempt from vehicle tax still need to apply for the tax in the usual way, even though they do not need to pay for it.
Such vehicles may include:

  • Vehicles used by a disabled person. Claim disability exemption when you get your vehicle tax disc. Find out if you’re eligible and how to claim.
  • Disabled passenger vehicles – vehicles (apart from ambulances) used by organisations providing transport for the disabled.
  • Mobility scooters, powered wheel chairs and invalid carriages (They must have a maximum speed of 8mph on the road, and be fitted with a device limiting them to 4mph on footways)
  • Historic vehicles/ Classic vehicles. You don’t have to pay vehicle tax on vehicles made before 1 January 1973 (‘historic vehicles’).
  • Electric vehicles. The electricity must come from an external source or an electric storage battery not connected to any source of power when the vehicle is moving.
  • Mowing machines. The mower must be designed, constructed and used just for cutting grass. It does not include tractors used to tow gang mowers.
  • Steam vehicles. You don’t have to pay vehicle tax on any steam-powered vehicle.
  • Vehicles used just for agriculture, horticulture and forestry.This includes tractors, agricultural engines and light agricultural vehicles used off-road. It also includes ‘limited use’ vehicles used for short journeys (not more than 1.5 kilometres) on the public road between land that’s occupied by the same person.

Is a private vehicle ever exempt from requiring tax?

It is very rare and only in extremely exceptional circumstances that a private vehicle may be driven without valid tax:

  • If you need to travel to an approved MOT test centre for a pre–booked MOT, (pre–booked meaning the time and date of the MOT test has been booked in advance). If using this exemption, you will be challenged on the legitimacy of your journey.
  • While the MOT is being carried out, the tester may be required to take it on a public road; however this exemption is only a possibility if the tester is driving the vehicle and nobody else.
  • If the vehicle fails its MOT test and the vehicle needs to be taken to a garage to have the work carried out that resulted in the failure. However, this can cause additional problems – please see Can I drive my vehicle if it fails it’s MOT?

Do I need tax if my vehicle is parked on the road but not being driven?

Yes, if your vehicle is parked on a public road (includes outside your house) then you must purchase vehicle tax as if you were driving the car. Failure to do so will result in the same prosecution if you were driving the vehicle without valid tax.

Do I need tax if my vehicle is off the road?

If your vehicle is ‘off-road’ you can make a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to the DVLA, specifying where the vehicle is being kept. If eligible, the SORN will be valid for 12 months and must be renewed after this time, even if you have no intentions in using the vehicle. Failing to obtain a SORN will result in a fixed penalty fine. If you decide to use the vehicle during the SORN period you must notify the DVLA and apply for the correct tax for your vehicle.

Can I transfer my tax to my new car?

No, tax is not transferable as they are specific to a vehicle registration number, however you can apply for a partial refund of unused tax from the DVLA using form V14.

Do I get a grace period to drive my vehicle once my tax expires?

No, contrary to some beliefs, this is a myth. You can apply for vehicle tax up to two months in advance, but there is no grace period to drive the vehicle once your tax expires.

If my tax has expired will my insurance be invalid?

Quite possibly yes. Not having valid tax alone does not warrant an insurance company refusing to pay out after an accident (or other reason for a claim), however if the vehicle does not have valid tax because it is not road worthy (in which case it may not have a valid MOT either) then they can refuse to cover you in the event of a claim.

The above information is true and correct as of August 2013 and relates to England and Wales.
For specific rules and variations relating to car tax in Northern Ireland visit the NI Direct Government Services website, and for Scotland visit the DirectScot Public Service website for Scotland.

Blue Badge Holders

The Blue Badge Scheme (Disabled Parking Permit)
The purpose of the scheme is to enable drivers with (or drivers of passengers with) severe mobility problems to park closer to where they need to go. Disabled badge holders may then park in designated areas or parking bays, allowing more space for ease of getting in and out of the vehicle.

The Blue Badge scheme operates all over the United Kingdom but there are some local differences with the operation of the scheme in certain London boroughs and other large towns or cities in the UK. And in Northern Ireland for example, the scheme applies to on-street parking but you can also get a “white badge” to access pedestrian zones. You should contact your local authority for the most up to date guidelines on Blue Badge use in your area.

Where you can generally park with a Blue Badge
As a Blue Badge holder you may park:
• on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours, unless there is a ban on loading or unloading
• at ‘on-street’ parking meters and pay-and-display machines for free and for as long as they need to
• in disabled parking bays

Displaying your Blue Badge
You should display your badge where it can be clearly read through the windscreen of your vehicle with the front of the badge facing upwards showing the wheelchair symbol (or hologram in the new badge design).
When you receive your badge, you should also get a parking clock. The clock must be used if you park on yellow lines, or in a place with time restrictions and should:
• show the quarter-hour period when you arrived
• be displayed next to the badge

When parking consessions are not used
When you do not use parking concessions, Blue Badges need not be displayed and should be removed from view.

If you are required to show your Blue Badge
Law Enforcement officers allowed to inspect Blue Badges are:
• police officers
• traffic wardens
• local council parking attendants
• civil enforcement officers
If you are asked to show your Blue Badge the requesting officer should produce an identity card with their photograph on it to prove they are who they say they are.
If you are asked by one of the above to show your Blue Badge YOU MUST SHOW IT TO THEM. If you do not, you will be breaking the law and could be fined up to £1,000.
Enforcement officers must not take away a Blue Badge unless they are accompanied by a police officer.

Misuse of Blue Badges
Blue Badges are the property of local councils. They can be taken away from you if they are misused.
The Blue Badge is for your use only. IT IS AN OFFENCE TO LET OTHER PEOPLE USE YOUR BLUE BADGE. It is also an offence to park in an on-street Blue Badge parking bay without displaying a badge.
If you think that a Blue Badge is being misused you should:
• get as many details as possible from the badge on display
• report the matter to your local authority

Fine/Penalty
The maximum fine for someone convicted of misusing their Blue Badge is £1,000, plus any additional penalty for the related parking offence.
It is not illegal to remain in the vehicle with the badge displayed if you are a Blue Badge holder or waiting for the Blue Badge holder to return, however, you should consider using a car park whenever possible.
The Blue Badge Scheme does not apply to off-street car parks such as shopping centre car parks, though these car parks often provide specific bays for Blue Badge holders. Check any signs or notices before parking.
If you think people are unfairly parking in bays reserved for disabled people, report it to the car park attendants if possible, or if in a supermarket car park report it to the store manager.

Blue Badge use in London
The scheme does not apply in four central London boroughs, who offer their own parking concessions:

  • City of London
  • City of Westminster
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • Part of the London Borough of Camden

You can find Blue Badge parking bays on the Blue Badge London map.

London Congestion Charge – Blue Badge Holders
Blue Badge holders do not have to pay the London Congestion Charge. You must register with Transport for London (TfL) at least ten days before your journey and pay a one-off £10 registration fee. The registration form can be downloaded from the Transport for Londonwebsite, or telephone: 0845 900 1234 (and textphone: 020 7649 9123)

Blue Badge use abroad
The UK has agreed informal parking arrangements with other European Union (EU) countries so you may be able to use your Blue Badge abroad. Download the ‘parking card for people with disabilities in the EU’ booklet for more information.
In non-EU countries, take the badge with you and ask whether you are entitled to use it when you are there.

Disabled visitors to the UK
Disabled visitors to England cannot get a Blue Badge. However, if you live in an EU country you can use your equivalent parking card in the UK. If you are travelling from outside the EU, please check with the local authorities in the areas you want to visit to see if your country’s parking card is recognised.
If you are visiting Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, different conditions may apply, as do some rules differ for different authorities throughout England.

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