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How a new driver's licence can be cancelled - Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 and its effect on driving convictions

The government took the initiative to reduce fatalities and casualties among new drivers, who have recently got their driver’s licence and those who have violated the traffic rules within a certain period after undergoing their first driving test. This was done with the enactment of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995, which came into effect on the 1st of June, 1997. While this legislation has been around for quite some time, not many people are aware of its role and effects in case of a violation or action of breach. This is something young or other new drivers should be aware of, as the consequences, such as losing their jobs, can have serious repercussions on them, both on the personal and professional front. The main aim of this legislation is to have a road safety measure that influences the behaviour of young drivers, who have just got their licence.

The Effects of Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995

Under this new legislation, if newly qualified drivers collect 6 or more penalty points within 2 years of passing their driving test, their licences could be revoked. As a result, such drivers go back to being provisional licence holders and will have to pass a new driving test to get their licence restored.

Under this Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995, even penalty points from the provisional licence are carried over and transferred to the full licence. Hence, if a driver commits further offences, the entire licence could be revoked. Furthermore, the date of the offence would be taken into consideration and not the date of conviction. At times, even if a driver has ended the mandated 2-year probation period and still commits offences, then the first 24 months would be taken into consideration and the licence would be revoked.

If an individual happens to be a new driver and his/her licence is revoked for accumulating 6 points, the motorist would have to apply to get the licence reinstated. Once the application is sent in, a provisional licence would be issued, which comes with the penalty points endorsed. Thereafter, the applicant would have to take the theory and practical driving tests and only after successfully passing these tests will he or she be reissued the the full licence. The penalty points stay on until the third year from the date of conviction. However, the applicant is thereafter subjected to a longer probationary period that lasts for 3 years, and if he accumulates 12 penalty points within the 3-year period, he gets disqualified just like any other driver with similar penalty points. This basically means that the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 is used just once at the time of revocation of the licence. Once the applicant passes the driving tests again, the legislation is not used from that point onwards.

The DVLA has the authority to revoke a licence without giving the individual a warning or asking him to attend a court hearing. If a driver accepts the Fixed Penalty Notice, which is dispatched if he accrues 6 penalty points within the first 2 years of getting his full driving licence, the licence can be revoked in this manner. Furthermore, the police or the DVLA are not obligated to warn a driver that his licence could be revoked. Nonetheless, when a person accumulates 6 penalty points, he will receive a notice from the DVLA informing him that within 5 days the licence will be revoked. If the individual continues driving with a revoked licence, it is a crime and will void his insurance, which can lead to further problems with the law in case of an accident.

A driver can avoid revocation of their driving licence by opting for a period of disqualification. This involves going to the court and convincing the court to disqualify the revocation of the licence. When this happens, the person does not get penalty points and this can help at times to prevent revocation of the driving licence. However, this method requires technical knowledge and people, who seek disqualification, should consult an experienced solicitor in this matter.

Once a person accepts fixed penalties, there is no possibility of appealing. So, all one can do is take the theory and practical driving tests. However, if a person’s licence is revoked after a court hearing, an appeal can be made against the court’s decision in a higher court. Usually, the appellant has 21 days to appeal the decision and once the appeal is submitted, the revocation of the person’s driving licence is suspended until the higher court’s decision. However, to continue using the licence, the individual would have to submit a copy of the appeal at the DVLA.

Who comes under the purview of Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995?

All new drivers who pass their first driving tests in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Channel Islands, European Community and European Economic Areas come under this legislation.

If a person has a foreign licence and exchanges it for a British licence after a driving test, then he would come under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995.

Driving Offences that come under Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995

Young drivers, or any others who have just got their licences, should be aware of the driving offences that can cause revocation of their licence. These offences are as follows:

• Accident offences
• Motorway offences
• Pedestrian crossing offences
• Careless driving
• Exceeding speed limits
• Construction and use offences
• Not following traffic signs and directions
• Reckless and dangerous driving
• Driving under the influence of drugs or drink
• Insurance offences
• Theft or unauthorised taking of a vehicle

These offences attract anywhere from 3 penalty points to 11 penalty points. Hence, the moment a person notches up 6 penalty points within the first 2 years of getting a licence; it is automatically revoked until the affected party retakes the theory and practical tests.