Getting penalty points (endorsements) on your licence can be expensive. A moment of lapsed concentration will mean a fine to pay and higher insurance premiums. If you’re a taxi driver, it can be even more serious as it could also cost you your licence to work. Read our complete guide below to find out everything from ‘how many penalty points can a taxi driver have?’ to how to buy cheaper taxi insurance.
Could endorsements on your licence mean the end of your career as a taxi driver?
You saw the light flash behind you and you know you’ll be getting a letter, fine, and points on your licence. Or maybe you’ve been stopped for using your handheld mobile phone in the car? It’s bad news for any driver, but when you’re a taxi driver, getting penalty points really could end up costing you your livelihood.
We know you’re a safe driver – after all, you do it for a living. But no matter how safe a driver you are, it’s all too easy to get caught out accidentally, for example, by exceeding the speed limit. The police have also cracked down on handheld mobile phone use whilst driving and there are other mistakes you can make that can lead to penalty points.
When you’re trying to run a successful taxi business, every pound counts. Paying for fines will dent your profit. Those points on your licence can also make your taxi insurance premiums soar. And depending on how many points you have, your taxi licence could even be taken away, so you’ll lose your livelihood.
First, how many penalty points can a taxi driver have?
There’s no single answer to ‘how many penalty points can a taxi driver have?’ That’s because different local authorities have different rules. Some local councils also run their own penalty point schemes for taxi drivers, which cover an even wider range of offences. If you’re not sure what your local council rules for taxi drivers are, get in touch with them. Find your local council contact details here.
Can my taxi licence be revoked if I get endorsements on my licence?
All professional drivers want to keep their licence clean. Apart from anything else, gathering points on your licence can mean that your taxi driver insurance goes up considerably.
You’ll need to tell your local council if you get any endorsements on your licence. They could decide to revoke your licence or it may not be renewed when the time comes.
Taxi drivers and penalty points: an overview
For ordinary UK drivers, if you accumulate 12 or more penalty points within a three-year period, you can be disqualified from driving. If you’ve qualified to drive in the last two years the rules are tougher, and you’ll lose your licence with six points or more.
But those rules are not always the same for all taxi drivers. Depending on where you work, your local council may have specific rules on how many penalty points drivers can have within a set period of time. That means you could lose your taxi licence, which allows you to drive for a living, even if you are not disqualified from driving.
For example, in Portsmouth, you’ll be referred to the Licensing Sub Committee if you have more than eight DVLA endorsement points. The committee will then decide what action will be taken.
If you’re not sure what the rules are for your local council, get in touch with them. Find your local council contact details here.
Other penalty point systems for taxi drivers
Next, you need to bear in mind that some councils also run their own penalty point scheme for hackney carriage and private hire licence holders. In these schemes, you can receive penalty points for a wide variety of situations, including:
- Displaying charges or tariffs on your metre that are not approved by the council.
- Failure to provide the council with details of a change of address.
- Not carrying a legal spare tyre.
- Failure to disclose a fixed penalty notice.
The specific penalties are set by individual councils with the aim of improving the service you provide. There are also different rules for the number of penalty points you can accrue depending on how many vehicles you operate. Once you’ve reached the top limit for points, you may have your licence revoked or be asked to undergo enhanced training.
You could lose your licence for just one breach. For example, in South Gloucestershire, the maximum number of penalty points on the council scheme that you can have is 11. But if you do not hold the correct insurance, you’ll be given 12 points, have your taxi licence removed, and face prosecution.
If you’re not sure what your local council rules for taxi drivers are, get in touch with them. Find your local council contact details here.
Are these rules for the best?
Some drivers believe that these rules are draconian and will hit their livelihoods. But others and the public generally agree that this strict approach helps to keep customers safer. In fact, many other professional drivers will lose their professional drivers licence with less than the standard number of endorsements on their record. Some are limited to gaining just three penalty points on their licence (such as Eddie Stobart HGV drivers and many emergency service drivers).
These rules may also benefit the taxi community in other ways by effectively ‘weeding out’ drivers who flout the law not just once by accident (such as a single 3-point speeding fine) but several times. And that will reassure the public that they’re getting into a car being driven by someone who takes a little more care on the road – which can only be a good thing for the trade’s reputation in general.
What traffic offences can lead to penalty points from the DVLA?
The minimum number of penalty points you’ll get if you’re caught speeding is three with a minimum fine of £100. The more you’ve exceeded the speed limit, the higher your fine and the number of penalty points allocated. But it’s not just speeding that can land you in hot water. There are lots of other traffic offences, including some you may not have even heard of, that can result in being issued between 1-11 penalty points.
Some of the most common include:
1) Accident offences
- Failing to stop after an accident – 5-10 penalty points
- Failing to report an accident within 24 hours – 5-10 penalty points
2) Careless driving
- Driving without due care and attention – 3-9 penalty points
- Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users – 3-9 penalty points
- Causing death by careless driving then failing to supply a specimen for alcohol analysis – 3-11 penalty points
- Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving – 3-11 penalty points
3) Vehicle condition offences
- Using a vehicle with defective brakes – 3 penalty points
- Causing or likely to cause danger by reason of use of unsuitable vehicle or using a vehicle with parts or accessories (excluding brakes, steering or tyres) in a dangerous condition – 3 penalty points
- Using a vehicle with defective tyre(s) – 3 penalty points
- Using a vehicle with defective steering – 3 penalty points
4) Dangerous driving
- Dangerous driving – 3-11 penalty points
- Furious driving – 3-11 driving
- Using a mobile phone – 6 penalty points
5) Drink and drugs
These must stay on a driving record for 11 years from the date of the conviction.
- Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above the limit – 3-11 penalty points
- Driving or attempting to drive with drug level above the specified limit – 3-11 penalty points
6) Insurance offences
- Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks – 6-8 penalty points
7) Speeding offences
- Exceeding the statutory speed limit on a public road – 3-6 penalty points
- Exceeding speed limit on a motorway – 3-6 penalty points
8) Traffic direction and signs
- Failing to comply with traffic light signals – 3 penalty points
- Failing to comply with double white lines – 3 penalty points
- Not following a traffic direction sign – 3 penalty points
- Failing to stop at a ‘stop’ sign – 3 penalty points
9) Other traffic offences
- Using a mobile phone when driving (not hands-free) – 6 penalty points
- Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position – 3 penalty points
- Play street offences – 2 penalty points
- Motor racing on the highway – 3-11 penalty points
- Driving with uncorrected defective eyesight – 3 penalty points
- Refusing to submit to an eye test – 3 penalty points
- Failure to give information as to the identity of the driver – 6 penalty points
Look at the full list of endorsements here.
Will penalty points on my licence make my taxi insurance higher?
Even if you’ve still got your taxi licence, penalty points from the DVLA can have a massive impact on your income. That’s because the accumulation of points makes you a riskier prospect for insurers. And you’ll pay much more for taxi insurance than someone with a clean licence.
How to get cheap taxi insurance if you have penalty points on your licence
As a taxi driver, you’re on the road all day and often all night. The more time you spend on the road, the more likely you are to commit a traffic offence. Don’t worry too much if you’ve just been caught slightly speeding. A single 3-point fine will increase your taxi insurance, but not to the extent that it will severely impact your livelihood. A one-off fine doesn’t make you a reckless driver, and insurance companies know that. However, if you’ve clocked up several sets of points, that could be a cause for concern. Insurance companies might simply not want the risk of insuring you, so will offer very high premiums to counteract that risk.
Getting the best price for taxi insurance
Don’t worry though if you’re a taxi driver with lots of penalty points. Follow these tips to get the best price possible for your taxi insurance:
- First, use a specialist taxi insurer, who understands the risks involved in your business and the sort of cover you might need. That way, you’re likely to get a better price as well as a better deal, with insurance that meets your specific needs. A specialist taxi insurer will also understand that one set of penalty points does not make you a bad driver.
- Next, shop around. Different insurance companies calculate risk in different ways, so it’s possible to get the same insurance cover at very different prices. If you don’t know where to look, or would rather be out on the road earning, use a specialist taxi insurance broker, like Park Insurance, to do the legwork for you.
- Thirdly, look for a tailored policy that meets your exact needs. That way you won’t be paying out for anything you don’t need.
- Finally, talk to your broker about your work. For example, if you do a comparatively low mileage each year it may be possible to secure a discount. Also, if you don’t ever drive your taxi at night, you may also get money off your premium.
Call us today
Points or no points, let Park Insurance find you cheap taxi insurance.
Don’t let points on your licence get you down. Our dedicated team has over 30 years of expertise helping taxi drivers to secure the best value insurance. Our understanding of your business and close links to some of the UK’s biggest insurance companies helps us to negotiate great prices, even if you’ve got endorsements. And we’ll source robust insurance that won’t leave you with any surprises if you do need to make a claim. We’re independent, so we will select the best value deals from a wide panel of specialist insurers. That means you can be confident we’re finding you the best price we can.
If you’ve already got endorsements on your licence you’ll be wondering how many points can a taxi driver have? In this guide, we’ve outlined the rules on DVLA and local council penalty points for taxi drivers. We’ve also shared our tips on getting the best price for taxi insurance even if your licence isn’t clean. Don’t let penalty points get you down, but take action to do what you can to help your taxi business thrive.
This article was originally published in July 2018. It has since been completely updated to provide you with the best and most accurate information
Have a question or want more information on taxi insurance? Talk to our expert team on 01179556835 today or fill in the form below for a free, no obligation quote.