Distractions and Penalties

Anything that takes a driver's attention away from the road is a distraction. It is not just handheld mobile phones that distract drivers - Sat Nav systems, MP3 players and passengers are among the many things that can take your attention away from the road. Driving requires your full attention at all times. Make sure that you are switched on and your phone is switched off.


Driving requires 100% concentration at all times, otherwise you are putting your own life and everybody else's in danger.

Distractions whilst driving include:

  • Using a mobile phone (talking, dialling, texting etc.)
  • Eating and drinking
  • Smoking
  • Manipulating controls in the car (music, heating dials)
  • Reading or writing
  • Leaning over to the other side of the car (to soothe passengers)

From March 1st 2017 the penalties issued to motorists caught driving whilst using a handheld mobile phone doubled.

Anyone who is caught driving whilst using a handheld mobile device in Cheshire will receive a £200 fine and 6 penalty points on their licence.

In addition, offending motorists will no longer be offered the chance to complete the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) training course as an alternative to receiving points on their licence.

The change could have major ramifications for young drivers, and people who have held their licence for less than two years, as they now face the prospect of having their licence revoked on their first offence.

For the answers to some commonly asked questions about the change in penalties, see our frequently asked questions section.

 Driving offences and maximum penalites

Driving offence Prison Fine Driving ban Penalty points awarded
Causing death by dangerous driving 14 years Unlimited Obligatory (minimum 2 years), Re-test is compulsory 3-11
Dangerous driving 2 years Unlimited Obligatory (minimum 2 years), Re-test is compulsory 3-11
Causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs 14 years Unlimited Obligatory (minimum 2 years) 3-11
Careless driving, inconsiderate driving, driving without due care and attention   £5000 Discretionary 3-9
Driving while unfit through drink or drugs or with excess alcohol; or failing to provide a specimen for analysis 6 months £5000 Obligatory 3-11
Failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident 6 months £5000 Discretionary 5-10
Driving when disqualified 6 months £5000 Discretionary 6
Use of handheld mobile phone whilst in charge of a vehicle   FPN: £200
£2500 (if driving a bus/coach/ HGV )
  FPN: 6
Driving after a refusal or revocation of licence on medical grounds 6 months £5000 Discretionary 3-6
Driving without insurance   £5000
FPN : £300
Discretionary 6-8
FPN : 6
Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence   £1000 Discretionary 3-6
Speeding   £2500 (on motorway)
FPN: £100
Discretionary 3
Traffic light offences   £1000
FPN : £100
No MOT Certificate   £1000
FPN : £100
Seatbelt offences   £500
FPN : £100
Dangerous cycling   £2500    
Careless cycling   £1000    
Cycling on pavement   £500    
Failing to identify the driver of a vehicle   £1000 Discretionary 6

How long do penalty points stay on my licence for?

When you receive penalty points, they stay on your driving licence for a certain amount of time.

  • Points for speeding: stay on your licence for four years from the start date.
  • Failing to comply with traffic signals: stay on your licence for four years from the start date
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol: stay on your licence for 11 years from the start date.

For further information please visit the Direct Gov endorsements and penalty points section of their website.

Banned from driving

Some of the offences listed above result in an instant driving ban. This means that you are not allowed to drive a vehicle for the duration of the ban, as you'd be committing a further criminal offence.

How long am I banned for?

This all depends on the offence that you've committed. The table above gives rough guidelines. Your lawyer would know how long your individual ban was.

How would I report a banned driver?

To report a banned driver, you should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101.