• Common UK Driving Offences

Common UK Driving Offences

Don’t get caught out behind the wheel - stay on the right side of the law

Driving a car on UK roads automatically means you’re obligated to obey UK law - you’re liable for a fine or even arrest if you’re found not to be doing so! Whilst there are a number of ways in which you can break the rules behind the wheel, there are a few offences that the authorities see committed on a regular basis. 

As a vehicle rental business in East Anglia, Rent Direct are up to speed with all common driving offences; are you aware of them? Read on to find out the ways in which motorists frequently break the law… 

Using a mobile phone 

The days of wedging your phone between your ear and your shoulder at the wheel are, in theory, long gone. However, with the evolution of mobile phone technology comes a whole range of ways your phone use could land you in trouble if you’re found to be interacting with it on the move; it’s a distraction that takes our eyes off the road. 

If found using your mobile phone behind the wheel, even if you’re stationary in traffic with your engine off, you could end up with a £200 fine and up to 6 points on your license. 

Careless driving 

Driving safely means driving carefully, and if you’re found not to be doing that, the consequences can be severe. Careless driving is defined as anything that takes your concentration from the road, or driving in a way that could cause an accident or collision due to lack of due care and attention. It’s anything from applying makeup on the move to undertaking and braking sharply without cause. 

The punishment for careless driving depends on the severity of the circumstances but you can expect a fine of anywhere between £100 and £2500. If justified, offenders could be disqualification or even go to prison. 


With the Home Office suggesting that around 6,000 drivers are caught speeding every day in the UK, it’s no surprise that this is one of the most common offences on our roads.

Letting your speedometer creep higher than the speed limit stipulates and getting caught doing so will see you receive a fine and points on your license. However, if your offence is minor and it’s your first brush with a speed camera, you may find you’re sent on a speed awareness course instead. 

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol 

This is highly illegal for obvious reasons; with things like reaction times and distance judgment impaired, you’re far more likely to cause an accident on the roads, putting yourself, any passengers, other road users, and pedestrians at risk. You should never get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs, and while there is a drink-drive limit (80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milligrams of blood), it’s largely suggested that all alcohol is avoided before driving. 

Being found under the influence behind the wheel can see you fined, disqualified, and even in prison. 

Driving a stolen vehicle

It should be obvious that driving a vehicle that doesn’t belong to you, i.e. joyriding, is illegal, with some serious consequences coming your way when the police catch up with you. If you’ve stolen a vehicle, expect a fine of around £5000, a community order and up to six months in prison, with repercussions especially severe if harm came to property or people whilst the joyride took place. 

Dangerous driving 

This offence is fairly self-explanatory; it’s any driving considered to endanger others, such as driving aggressively, ignoring road signs, signals or other road users, or using the road as your race track. Those found to be driving dangerously will be slapped with fines, bans, or even jail time. 

Driving a defective vehicle

Driving without a valid MOT, worn tyres, or with lights that don’t work? You’re travelling on the wrong side of the law. A car needs to be deemed safe and roadworthy before setting off, and failure to ensure that’s the case could lead to a £100 on the spot fine and penalty points on your license. You’re putting yourself and others at risk - it’s not worth the money you think you’re saving on replacement tyres or an MOT test. 

Driving whilst disqualified 

If you’ve been banned from driving, getting behind the wheel before this ban is lifted will land you in hot water - yet still people do it! You can bet that if found out, your ban would be extended and you could even end up with a prison sentence if the circumstances were severe enough. 

Driving whilst uninsured

It’s a legal requirement to have at least 3rd party insurance on your vehicle, and you must have the correct insurance to drive that particular vehicle yourself. Failing to get the right cover is something many UK motorists are found guilty of each year, which sees them cough up £300, receive up to 6 penalty points on the license, and even have their car seized in some cases. Carry on offending in this way and they can expect a bigger fine and potentially a driving ban. 

Hit and run

Leaving the scene of an accident that involves you is a huge moral and legal no-no. Driving away if you’ve hit someone or something could see a court-imposed fine of up to £5000 plus a prison sentence if the circumstances were severe. The penalty point endorsement could be between 5-10 points too!