Former Tory MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine famously got away with it four years ago when they could not remember who was driving when they were caught speeding. They told a court neither of them knew who was behind the wheel when they were flashed by a speed camera so were found not guilty and avoided a fine and points on their licences.
But new laws from the Driving Standards Agency now in force mean that motorists who fail to say who was behind the wheel when their car is flashed by a speed camera risk doubling the points.
Previously it was three points for a speeding offence – now it could be six if you don’t give information about who was driving.
The Driving Standards Agency reckons it’s a loophole that needs to be closed because drivers have been cheating by pretending they don’t know who was driving.
Campaigners say the change is simply spiteful and will unfairly penalise people who genuinely don’t know who was driving. The only exception is if you can prove your car was stolen.
No matter who is right or wrong the new laws will significantly hit your motor insurance if you get points on your licence. MoneyExpert.com helps you steer clear…
Speed kills your car insurance savings
Insurers believe speeding offences show you are potentially a risky driver so they push up your premium to reflect the risk.
You have to tell your insurer that you have speeding convictions because if you don’t and then have to make a claim the insurer would be entitled to refuse to pay your claim.
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The rough rule of thumb is that three points equals around £20 to £30 extra on your annual premium. If it’s six points then the extra on your annual premium could be as much £60. Young drivers will be stung for even more.
Points stay on your licence for three years so you could end up paying as much as £180 extra over three years for not being able to remember who was driving.
And a ban will really hurt…
Getting six points on your licence will put you half way towards being banned from driving.
Once you get to 12 points you can be banned from the road and could be unable to drive for a year or even more.
Whilst three points on the license may see £20-£30 added to your premium you can expect to suffer a bigger sting should you rack up enough points to get banned.
When you return to driving your annual insurance premium will be racked up by at least 50 per cent to reflect the risk you pose to insurers from having been banned.
Given that the average annual comprehensive motor insurance premium is around £880 then that will be a serious amount extra.
On the plus side, if you do find yourself facing a court appearance, some insurers will cover the costs, and compensate you for your inability to travel. This will be tucked away in the small print so is always worth looking for, but don’t expect to see it with basic policies, and it’s not much use if you rely on driving to make a living.
Watch out for..
Other new laws to watch out for have also come into force.
They include higher punishments for careless driving and refusing to stop. Maximum fines for careless driving go up from £2,500 to £5,000 while failing to stop rises to £5,000. And all fines for seatbelt offences are now £500
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