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The law on revoking licences

The Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995, which applies to every motorist who passed their test after June 1st 1997, imposes a new probationary period of two years during which the new driver runs additional risks of losing their licence.

Why penalise young drivers?

Sadly, although many young people consider themselves to be good and safe drivers, the statistics demonstrate otherwise.

•Figures published by the Transport Research Laboratory indicated that in the UK nearly one in eight of all road casualties are injured or killed in collisions involving a teenage driver, despite young motorists making up just 1.5 per cent of licensed drivers
•Drivers in their teens are more than twice as likely as drivers in their forties to be killed in a car crash
•23 per cent of 18-24 year olds are involved in a crash within two years of passing their driving test

If young women are excluded from the figures, the statistics are much worse; road accidents are a major cause of death amongst young men. It was in an attempt to deal with this tragic loss of life that the New Drivers Act was introduced.

The probationary period

During the two year probationary period, a driver's licence will be revoked if they get six or more penalty points, which can include any carried over from the provisional licence period. Unlike normal disqualification from driving, which can only happen at a court hearing, revocation is automatic and can result from the accumulation of points from fixed penalty notices. Neither the police nor the DVLA are required to warn the driver that their licence is at risk. There is no right of appeal against revocation once the six points are on the licence.

Is it possible to avoid revocation?

Al though the revocation process is automatic once triggered by the accumulation of penalty points, new drivers can use the usual route to avoid licence endorsement; that is, by choosing to attend court and argue their case. Some drivers have asked the courts to impose a brief period of immediate disqualification instead of penalty points, believing that in this way they will reduce the time during which they cannot drive.

Getting a licence back

Revocation is not a fixed period of disqualification; instead, the driver has to apply for a provisional licence and then pass both the theory and practical parts of th driving test; in effect, starting to drive all over again. Once the licence has been regained in this way, however, it cannot be revoked again, and the normal rules apply (but so do the six penalty points already accumulated).

How many licences have been revoked to date?

The figures on revocation under the New Drivers Act are as follows;
•2010... 96,551 revocations
•2011... 126,263
•2012... 117,565
•2013... 112,725

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