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330 High Holborn

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Milton Keynes

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What is the Difference Between a Driving Ban and Revocation of a Driving Licence?

by | Oct 19, 2023 | Articles, Driving Offence Advice

In the UK, a driving ban and revocation of a driving licence are two distinct legal actions that take place within the Legal Justice System. Each with its own set of implications and consequences for motorists. In this article, we will delve into the key differences between the two measures, exploring what they mean, how they are imposed and the effects they have on individuals and road safety.

What is a Driving Ban?

A driving ban, often referred to as a disqualification, is a legal penalty that temporarily prohibits an individual from driving. It is typically imposed by a Court as a result of a serious traffic offence, such as dangerous driving, drunk driving, or exceeding the speed limit by a significant margin.

A driving ban can also be the result of accumulating too many penalty points on one’s driving licence, in these circumstances, the individual will be classed as what is called a “Totter.”


“Totting up”- What does this mean?

Every driving licence in the UK can hold up to 11 penalty points, at the point a driver stands to accumulate 12 or more penalty points as a result of “totting up”, the Court will seek to disqualify the individual from driving for a period of at least 6 months. This is unless a successful exceptional hardship application has been advanced.


What is an Exceptional Hardship Application?

The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, provides motorists a lifeline, where by an application for “Exceptional Hardship” can be made to the Courts who may in turn accept mitigating reasons which results in drivers avoiding disqualification altogether. However, it is important to note that the success of these applications is on a subjective basis and the Court must find any hardship endured as a result of the disqualification as exceptional. The concept of what is considered as exceptional is relative and guidance from a motoring law expert is key when a driver is considering an application as the process is not only complex but also difficult to achieve.

How a Driving Ban Works:

  • Conviction: A driving ban is usually imposed following a conviction in a court of law. The severity and duration of the ban depend on the nature and gravity of the offence.
  • Duration: The length of a driving ban can vary significantly, ranging from a few months to several years, depending on the circumstances. In extreme cases, a lifelong ban may be imposed.
  • Penalty Points: For certain offences, a driving ban can be accompanied by penalty points added to the individual’s driving record. If a driver accumulates 12 or more penalty points within a 3-year period, they may face an automatic driving ban for a period of 6 months.
  • Reapplication: After the ban expires, the individual must reapply for their driving licence, The only positive from this however is the fact that the accumulated points will be wiped from the driving licence once the disqualification period is over.

Consequences of a Driving Ban

A driving ban can have significant consequences for the individual including:

  • Disruption to Daily Life: Being unable to drive can disrupt one’s routine, affecting employment, social life, and daily tasks like grocery shopping or taking children to school.
  • Financial Penalties: Fines and Court costs associated with the offence can be substantial adding financial strain to the individual and the wider repercussions of this can also have a negative impact on family members.
  • Increased Insurance Premiums: Upon regaining their licence, individuals may face significantly higher insurance premiums.
  • Long-Term Effects: More serious driving offences can lead to a criminal record which can in turn impact future job prospects and travel opportunities.

Revocation of a Driving Licence

On the contrary, the revocation of a driving licence is a more severe and permanent measure compared to a driving ban. It means that an individual’s right to drive is completely terminated and they must go through the rigorous process to reapply for a licence if they wish to drive again.


Revocation of Driving Licence – New Drivers

The revocation of a driving licence usually applies to new drivers who are governed by the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995. This act provides the first two years of being on the road as the “Probationary Period.” During this period, any new drivers who accumulate 6 points on their licence can expect revocation of their licence, in addition to the revocation, a full retest of both the theory and practical must take place and be successful before a driver is allowed to legally drive on the roads again.

There are other reasons why revocation of a licence would occur, for instance on the basis of medical grounds.

How it Works:

  • Medical Reasons: In some cases, a driving licence is revoked due to medical reasons, such as a medical condition or disability that affects a person’s ability to drive safely. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is responsible for assessing and deciding on revocations for medical reasons.
  • DVLA: When a medical condition is reported or becomes known, the DVLA may request a medical assessment, which can include a physical and cognitive test. Based on the assessment results, the DVLA will decide whether the individual’s licence should be revoked.
  • Permanent Revocation: If the DVLA determines that a medical condition is permanent and poses a significant risk to road safety, the individual’s licence will be permanently revoked.
  • Reapplication: If an individual’s licence is revoked for medical reasons, they can only reapply after fulfilling certain criteria, this often includes obtaining medical clearance, demonstrating their fitness to drive and sometimes passing a driving test again.

Consequences of Licence Revocation

The revocation of a driving licence, especially for medical reasons, can have profound and lasting consequences:

  • Loss of Independence: It can significantly impact an individual’s independence, making them reliant on others for transportation.
  • Medical Expenses: Addressing the medical condition may require ongoing medical treatment and expenses.
  • Emotional Impact: Losing the ability to drive can be emotionally distressing, particularly if driving has been an integral part of one’s life.
  • Strict Reapplication Process: Reapplying for a revoked licence is a rigorous and time-consuming process which may not guarantee a successful outcome.

Essentially, in the United Kingdom, a driving ban and the revocation of a driving licence are two distinct measures aimed at maintaining road safety and penalising offenders. Whilst a period of  disqualification from driving is a temporary suspension of driving privileges, (usually due to an accumulation of 12 points or drunk driving-related offences such as driving with excess alcohol, failure to provide a specimen and driving whilst unfit through drink/drugs.) Revocation however is not the same as disqualification. This process involves the withdrawal of a motorist’s licence with no end date by which they can drive again. Fundamentally, the revocation of a licence is a permanent termination often as a result of a breach of new driver provisions or for medical reasons.

Understanding the key differences between these two measures is essential for all motorists to navigate the legal and practical consequences that may arise. Both actions serve as important tools in the pursuit of road safety and responsible driving behaviour. If you find yourselves in the unfortunate circumstances of facing potential disqualification from driving or the revocation of your licence, it is imperative you get in touch with a motoring law specialist who can guide you through the process, there may be avenues that can be explored that could avoid drastic outcomes however without the assistance of an expert who can navigate you through the minefields of the legislation and Court process.

Do you require legal advice &/or representation?

If you are facing a driving offence prosecution and require expert legal representation at Court, call our lawyers on 0330 818 9843 or complete our Contact Form.

What is the Difference Between a Driving Ban and Revocation of a Driving Licence? UK motoring law solicitors legal advice expert

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