Motoring conviction codes, fixed penalty notices, endorsements - lots of different words which usually mean the same thing, penalty points on your driving licence.
Over 2.9 million UK full driving licence holders had penalty points on their licence between March 2013 and March 2014, according to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Sometimes the problem stems from the fact lots of drivers don't know their SP30s (exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road) from their SP50s (exceeding speed limit on a motorway), which is why we've done the leg work for you.
We give you the lowdown on driving without insurance, penalty points and car insurance - and the connection between them all. If you have ever wondered: "Do penalty points affect car insurance?" read on and find out.
Before the penalty points system was introduced, motorists were simply fined or banned if they were caught breaking the rules of the road. The introduction of the new system in 1988 was part of an attempt to provide the Courts with another method of punishing repeat offenders.
The new system allows Courts to endorse a person's driving licence with points; the number of points a driver receives depends on the severity of the offence. Having a points system that can be monitored means the effects of the punishments can be measured and motorists who continue to offend could face a driving ban.
The police are responsible for handing out penalty points to drivers, but how you get the points depends on the offence itself. Speeding penalty points, for example, could come from a fixed camera, a parked speed van, an officer with a speed gun or you may just be pulled over by a police officer.
You may be given a verbal warning if you're pulled over, or potentially an on-the-spot fine and an endorsement if you have your licence with you. If you don't, you'll be required to produce your licence to the police within seven days to have the points added.
If you're caught speeding by a camera you'll be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) which will explain the offence. You'll need to reply within 28 days, sending back the name and details of the person driving at the time.
Most types of penalty points, things like SP30s (speeding on a public road) and CU80s (using your mobile phone) are on the licence for four years. SP30s and CU80s are two of the most common driving offence codes held by drivers in the UK, with over a million drivers having at least one of them between March 2013 and March 2014.
However, some offences could remain on your licence for up to 11 years because of their severity:
When starting a new car insurance policy you should be honest about any previous claims or motoring offences as it could affect your cover.
A member of Admiral's Pricing team said:
"It's important to disclose all the relevant facts about previous motoring offences, penalty points, speed awareness courses/driver improvement courses etc. We aim to protect our customers by ensuring their policy information is correct before an accident occurs; this allows the Claims team to look to pay out a claim in full rather than the potential of not paying the claim, or paying a lower amount.
"Our claims statistics have proven that customers with penalty points and motoring offences in the last five years, have more driving incidents and make more claims. This is why we need to know about them before offering a quote."
|SP30 Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road||641,493|
|SP50 Exceeding speed limit on a motorway||102,221|
|IN10 Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks||98,469|
|CU80 Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, mobile telephone etc||86,043|
|DR10 Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit||50,511|
|SP30 Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road||290,322|
|SP50 Exceeding speed limit on a motorway||28,992|
|CU80 Breach of requirements as to control of the vehicle, mobile telephone etc||24,030|
|TS10 Failing to comply with traffic light signals||22,186|
|IN10 Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks||20,363|
Some 2.4 million speeding offences were detected in England and Wales in 2018-2019; a record-breaking year, according to data analysis from the RAC Foundation.
Of the 2,386,780 speeding offences detected:
The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to your licence, unless you’re give the option of attending a speed awareness course.
If you get 12 points within three years you could lose your licence.
Not everyone who receives a speeding ticket gets the option of attending a speed awareness course, rather than paying the fine and taking the penalty points.
You’re only eligible to attend a speeding course if:
Contrary to popular belief, speed awareness courses are not run by the police, they’re independently run and regulated by the National Association of Driver Intervention Providers. The costs of the course vary but you can expect to pay in the region of £100.
By attending a course, you don’t pay the speeding fine and you don’t get points on your licence.