The Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 applies to each and every motorist who passed their first full test after 1 June 1997 – Congratulations, but beware! The Act effectively places new drivers “on probation” for the first two years after passing their test. Approximately 300 licences are revoked every week in this country, returning new drivers back to being learners again, with all the limitations that implies.

Why? Newly qualified drivers are more at risk in the two years or so after passing their test than at any other time during their driving careers, especially the younger drivers. One in five will have an accident during their first year of driving, with under 25s being involved in 1,000 fatalities per year, often their own. Inexperience is the main contributing factor to these statistics, and by removing licences from those that increase their risk still further, by committing offences such as speeding, it is hoped that this measure will help save lives.

During this two year period, a new driver will immediately lose their licence should they reach 6 or more penalty points. In theory then, a new driver could be given one chance by way of a Fixed Penalty but if two Fixed Penalties were accepted, or a more serious offence resulted in 6 points, the licence would be revoked.

Points carried over from a provisional driving licence are taken into account so any driver who transfers points from a provisional to a full licence would lose that licence if any further offence were committed. The points will remain valid until their third anniversary. If you already have 6 points on your provisional licence, they would not prevent you from 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 it is punished by penalty points.

Also, 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 then imposed for an offence that occurred within the first 24 months.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) are informed when you reach 6 or more penalty points on your licence. They will write informing you that you licence is no longer valid. Even if you are not informed, it is your responsibility to be aware that you licence has been revoked. You will then have to apply, and pay for, a new provisional licence if you wish to drive again, driving as an ‘L’ plate driver with the usual restrictions as if you had never passed your practical driving test.

It is an offence to carry on driving without a valid licence, with a maximum fine of £1,000, and your insurance company needs to be informed of a licence cancellation.

The New Drivers Act will only apply once, so if you re-pass your test, you will not be subject to another probationary period as a new driver. However, if you reach 12 points within any 3 year period, you would be subject to a totting up disqualification, as would any other driver.

Main penalty point offences

Speeding 3-6 points
Traffic light offence 3
Careless and inconsiderate driving 3-9
Failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident 5-10
Failing to identify the driver of a vehicle 3
Driving whilst disqualified 6
Driving other than in accordance with a licence 3-6