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Driving licence penalty codes explained

Oct 8, 2021

Driving is a highly responsible activity – and there are lots of ways in which you can fall foul of traffic laws and pick up a licence endorsement or penalty points.

But did you know that each endorsement has its own code? If you need to view or share your driving record for any reason, it’s helpful to know what these codes stand for.

Having penalty points is likely to raise the cost of your insurance. With black box insurance from Smartdriverclub, you can demonstrate that you are a careful and law-abiding driver, which may help you qualify for a discount when it comes to renewal.

A young male driver sitting in the drivers seat of his car

What are penalty codes?

If you’re snapped by a traffic camera or stopped by police for certain motoring offences, you’re likely to be issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN).

Some offences are considered non-endorsable, such as stopping on a box junction, and you’ll get a small fine at most.

However, most are endorsable, meaning they carry penalty points as well as fines. They’ll be noted on your digital driving record under a code, explained below.

Penalty points stay on your driving record for four years, or 11 for certain offences. If you accrue 12 or more within three years, you’ll usually be banned from driving for six months.

If you refuse to accept the FPN, or if you’re accused of a more serious motoring offence, your case will go to court. The court has the power to impose larger penalties.

In this blog, we’re focusing on the penalty points and codes – but drivers convicted of some of the offences listed below could also face fines, driving bans, community orders, or even prison sentences.

New drivers and penalties

Most drivers can accrue up to 11 points and carry on driving legally. However, the rules are stricter for new drivers.

If you get six or more points within two years of passing your test, your licence will automatically be cancelled. You’ll have to apply for a new provisional licence, and retake both your theory and practical driving tests.

Plus, did you know you can get points on a provisional licence? If you then pass your driving test before these have expired, they’ll be carried over to your full licence.

We all want to start our driving careers with a clean slate! Choosing telematics insurance helps you learn the driving habits that will stand you in good stead for decades to come.

Viewing your driving licence codes

Back in the days when driving licences were paper, or had a paper counterpart, endorsements would be written on the licence itself.

These days, nearly all drivers have only a plastic photocard. So any endorsements won’t be marked on the physical licence itself, but recorded digitally. Once they’ve expired, they’ll be removed automatically.

So what do you do if you can’t remember what endorsements you have, or whether they’ve expired? And how can you let a third party, such as a car hire company or insurer, see your driving record?

The government’s view or share your driving licence information service makes it simple. All you have to do is type in your driving licence number, national insurance number and postcode.

You’ll then be able to view your record and generate a ‘check code’ to share with others that is valid for 21 days.

Now, let’s take a look at the different categories, and some of the most common codes.

Accident codes

These codes begin with the letters AC, and stay on your record for four years from the date of the offence.

AC10 is for failing to stop after an accident, while AC20 is failing to give particulars or report an accident within 24 hours. They both carry five to 10 penalty points.

A view from inside a car of a young person driving with the sun shining through the windscreen

Disqualified driver codes

There are four offences within this category.

BA10 is driving while disqualified, and BA30 is attempting to do so. Both carry six points, and stay on your licence for four years from the date of the offence.

BA40 is causing death by dangerous driving while disqualified, and BA60 is causing injury. They carry three to 11 points and stay on your licence for four years from the date of conviction.

Of course drivers convicted of these offences risk other penalties, too, including jail.

Careless driving

If you see the letters CD, that means an offence of careless driving. There are several codes within this category.

CD10 means driving without due care and attention. You’ll face three to nine points, which will stay on your record for four years from the time you committed the offence.

When a driver causes death through careless driving, the relevant codes are CD40 up to CD90, depending on factors such as whether alcohol was involved. Penalty points range from three to 11, and these offences stay on the driver’s record for four or 11 years from the date of conviction.

However, in these more serious cases, you’re more likely to receive an outright driving ban than points on your licence. Plus, of course, you’ll probably face a hefty fine, community order or prison sentence.

Construction and use offences

Offences in this category all have CU codes, and mainly refer to driving a vehicle that is defective in some way. Most carry three penalty points and stay on your licence for four years.

One offence to watch out for in particular is CU80, which is using a mobile phone while driving. You can get up to six points on your licence if you’re caught doing so.

Reckless or dangerous driving

These DD codes will stay on your licence for four years from the date of conviction, and carry three to 11 penalty points.

However, these are serious offences, so you’re likely to get far stiffer penalties. DD80 is causing death by dangerous driving, and people convicted of this face up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban of at least two years.

Drink and drugs

DR codes all refer to alcohol-related motoring offences, while DG codes refer to drugs.

Some examples are: DR10, which is driving or attempting to drive while above the alcohol limit; DR30, driving then refusing to supply a specimen for analysis; and DG40, in charge of a vehicle when above the specified drug level limit.

These codes will stay on your record for between four and 11 years, and carry a large range of penalties. You’ll be disqualified from driving for a while, unless exceptional circumstances apply. Check out the exact details at the government’s penalty points web pages.

Getting back on the road after a driving ban is tough: many insurance providers won’t cover you, or will charge sky-high premiums. Young driver insurance from Smartdriverclub lets you prove you’ve learned your lesson: you simply install a telematics device in your car to monitor your driving behaviour. If you drive well over the course of a year, you could get a discount when you come to renew your policy.

Insurance and licence offences

IN and LC codes all stay on your driving record for four years from the date the offence was committed.

They include: IN10, which is using a vehicle that’s not insured for third party risks; and LC20, which is driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, such as driving the wrong category of vehicle.

So it really is important to get your documents in order!

Miscellaneous offences

Yes, there really is a special category for all those driving offences that don’t quite fit anywhere else!

Some of the more common ones include MS10, which is leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position; MS50, motor racing on the highway; MS70, driving with uncorrected defective eyesight, aka without your glasses if you need them; and MS90, failing to give information as to the identity of the driver.

MS60 relates to offences not covered by other codes – so if you see this on your driving record, you’ve done something really unusual! However, driving safely is all about sticking to the rules, so you need to find a different outlet for your maverick tendencies.

To learn good driving habits, why not get car insurance cover from Smartdriverclub? This involves fitting a simple device, called a Smartplug, into your car, which then monitors driving behaviours such as cornering, braking and accelerating. You can see how well you’re doing on the accompanying smartphone app.

A car travelling on a motorway at speed at sunset

Motorways and pedestrian crossings

MW10 stands for contravention of special road regulations, other than speed limits.

Any code beginning PC is a pedestrian crossing offence, eg driving across one when you’re not supposed to could result in a PC20 code on your record.

All these offences carry three penalty points and stay on your licence for four years from the date they were committed.

Speed limits

No prizes for guessing what is the most common category of motoring offences! It’s all too easy to let your speed creep up when driving – but it could land you with an SP code on your motoring record.

SP30 is for exceeding the statutory speed limit on a public road, while SP50 is for motorways.

Either way, they stay on your record for four years, and carry three to six penalty points.

Traffic direction and signs

Got a TS code on your driving record? That means you’ve failed to comply with certain traffic signs. 

TS10 is for traffic lights, TS20 is for double white lines, and TS30 is for stop signs. If you fail to comply with directions given by a warden or constable, you’re just asking for trouble – and you could soon have a TS40 code on your driving record.

All these offences carry three penalty points, and will remain on your driving record for four years.

Other codes

If your points add up to 12 or more within three years, you will almost certainly be disqualified from driving for six months. And you’ll get another code: TT99, which stays on your record for four years from the date of conviction.

UT50 is the code for aggravated taking of a vehicle.

And MR stands for ‘mutual recognition’. It means that if you’re disqualified from driving in Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man, you’ll be banned in GB, too.

Aiding, causing or inciting offences

Did you know that it’s not just the driver who can be slapped with a penalty? Passengers and others can be involved in motoring offences, and if they have driving licences themselves, they could be given penalty points.

Confused? Some examples are: answering a mobile phone then handing it to the driver; or lending someone a vehicle when you know they don’t have the right insurance or licence.

Codes for these endorsements follow the system for drivers, but with a different final digit. For ‘aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring’ offences the ‘0’ changes to a 2. So an IN10 offence, for example, would become an IN12.

If you ‘cause or permit’ an offence, the ‘0’ changes to a 4. And if you ‘incite’ an offence, that zero changes to a six.

So it pays not only to drive carefully yourself, but to encourage others to do the same. It helps us all stay safe on the roads.

Get a quote from Smartdriverclub today

At Smartdriverclub, we know how easy it is to make driving mistakes, and we don’t judge you for them. We want to help you get back on the roads – safely.

Black box insurance uses telematics technology to monitor your driving, so you can prove that you are a careful motorist despite any endorsements. You simply install a Smartplug into your vehicle, which monitors things like how smoothly you take corners, brake and accelerate; how fast you drive; and how often you drive after dark.

You can view your results on the accompanying app, giving you the information you need to improve the way you drive. And at the end of the year, if you’ve got a good driver score, you could receive a discount when you come to renew.

Contact us today for a quote.