Driving Laws and Common Offences - Understanding the Penalties

Driving Laws and Common Offences

When we get behind the wheel of a car, we all like to think we are responsible and considerate drivers when it comes to our on-road behaviour. Without boasting that we’re know-it-all’s, deep down we think we are familiar with all the driving laws and rules.

However, statistics tell a different story, especially around some of the most common (and serious ways) we can fall foul of the law – speeding and driving under the influence of drink or drugs. According to the RAC, there were nearly 800,000 penalty notices for speeding issued in 2015, while every year approximately 85,000 people are convicted for drink driving.  Government figures also say drug driving offences are on the rise, with 8,000 cases brought to prosecution in the last 12 months.

So here at GO Vauxhall, we want to make sure you are aware of the driving laws, and have created a guide with some of the most important ‘Rules of the Road’ you need to follow. ​

Speeding Issues – what you should know

The most common driving offence is speeding.  Understanding the law and the potential consequences of breaking the rules are extremely important to ensure there are fewer speeding-related accidents.

To be clear, in the eyes of the law you are liable for a speeding fine as soon as you exceed the speed limit.  So, doing 31 mph in a 30 mph limit or 71mph on a motorway is breaking the law.  No ifs, no buts.

There is a common driving myth which says you can travel 10 per cent over the speed limit without receiving a fine. But, this isn’t technically true. According to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) this rule is allowed as guidance for enforcement, and they will permit 10 per cent over the speed limit plus 2mph only in certain circumstances.  ​


There are many ways you can be penalised for breaking the law for speeding. We’ve listed here just some of the consequences:

  • The minimum is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your licence. However, the way speeding fines are calculated was changed in 2017 and now sees drivers face a fine up to 175 per cent of their weekly wage!
  • Motorists can be disqualified from driving if they have built up 12 or more penalty points within a period of three years.
  • Driving offences for new drivers can be even tougher. Newly-qualified motorists need to be aware that if they accrue six penalty points within the first two years after gaining their full licence, then the licence will be revoked.
  • Motorists could also receive a driving ban of six months if 12 penalty points are obtained within three years. The ban could rise to 12 months if a second disqualification occurs within three years, and even a two-year ban if a third disqualification happens within 36 months. Also, if drivers receive a ban for more than 56 days, they will have to apply for a new licence, or even retake their driving test!

Drink and Drug driving

Like speeding, instances of drink and drug driving are taken extremely seriously by law enforcers.  Offenders can be disqualified and, depending on the circumstances and severity of the case, also receive a fine or even be sent to prison.  Again, this will mean they would have to apply for a new licence after being disqualified.

In some cases, ‘high risk offenders’ must prove they are fit to drive again, and pass a medical examination with one of the DVLA’s appointed doctors. 

Did you know?

Do you think you know all the driving rules? We’ve listed a dozen laws with their penalties below – how many were you aware of?

  • Driving too slowly – a verbal warning or penalty points
  • Flashing other motorists to warn them about speed cameras – a fine
  • Parking on the pavement in London – £70 fine
  • Sleeping in a car while intoxicated – 10 penalty points
  • Using an unfixed mobile phone as a Sat Nav aid – £200 fine and six penalty points
  • Eating, drinking, applying makeup or changing a CD while driving – between 3-9 penalty points and a possible fine
  • Dirt obscuring your number plate – £100 on-the-spot fine
  • Failing to clear snow from the car roof – £60 fine and three penalty points
  • Failing to declare medical conditions – £1,000 fine
  • Hogging the middle lane of the motorway – £100 fine and three penalty points
  • Swearing or making rude gestures to other road users – 75% of weekly wage fine
  • Playing aggressively loud music – verbal warning

And there you have it, just some of the UK driving laws you need to adhere to. And, basically, if you abide by the law, you won’t get penalised!

For more advice from our expert team get in touch here