Useful info

You may be interested to know …

Useful info

We have put together some useful info for you on some of the do’s and don’ts of driving – we hope you will find them useful.

1.        Mobile Phones/Sat Navs

Driving whilst holding a mobile phone or sat nav is against the law.

You can use hands-free equipment, for example:

  • bluetooth headset
  • voice command
  • dashboard holder or mat
  • windscreen mount
  • built-in sat nav

as long as it is safe to do so. The device must not impede your view of the road and traffic ahead.

Penalties for using a hand-held phone:

  • you can get an automatic fixed penalty notice
  • you can get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200
  • you will lose you licence if you passed your driving test in the last 2 years
  • you can get 3 penalty points if you don’t have a full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle
  • your case could also go to court and you could be disqualified and get a maximum fine of £1,000
  • drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500

Follow the link for more information:

2.        Seat Belts

You can be fined up to £500 for not wearing one and you will automatically lose up to 25% of any compensation you may be entitled to if you are involved in an accident and are not wearing a seat belt.

Follow the link for exceptions to the above:

3.        Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the Police have the power to stop anyone at any time without giving a reason.

If you are found guilty of drink-driving you could be imprisoned, banned from driving and face a fine – see

If you are convicted of drug driving you will get a minimum 1 year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to 6 months in prison and a criminal record.  Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years. See

4.        Insurance

You must have motor insurance before you can drive on a road or in a public place.


  • If you are caught driving a vehicle that you are not insured to drive, the police could give you a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points.
  • If your case goes to court you could get an unlimited fine (i.e. no upper limit) and be disqualified from driving.
  • The police have the power to seize and, in some cases, destroy a vehicle that’s being driven with no insurance.

Continuous insurance

In England, Wales and Scotland the rules for insuring vehicles are called ‘continuous insurance enforcement’. This means that if you are the registered keeper of a vehicle it must be insured at all times or declared as ‘off the road’ (SORN).

If you have no continuous insurance then you could:

  • get a fixed penalty of £100
  • have your vehicle wheel-clamped, impounded or destroyed
  • face a court prosecution, with a possible maximum fine of £1,000.


Motor Insurance Database – a central database recording all vehicles that are insured.  This is routinely used by the police, DVLA and other authorities.


Automatic Number Plate Recognition – the police can check on MID from their patrol cars to see if a vehicle is insured or not.

Types of insurance cover

There are different levels of insurance which include:

  • Fully comprehensive
  • Third party fire and theft
  • Third party.

Third Party insurance is the legal minimum.

Third Party means that if you have an accident and cause damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property, you will be covered for their costs.  It doesn’t cover any of your costs like repair to your own vehicle or any injury to you.

It very important that you always read the detail of your insurance policy and make absolutely certain that you are covered to the level you need.

DOC cover

Some insurance companies provide cover to ‘Drive other Cars’ – known as ‘DOC’ cover. This means that your own insurance will cover you to drive other people’s vehicles with their permission.

Before driving anyone else’s car you must always:

  • Make sure that you have the owners’ permission
  • Check with the owner if you are covered on their insurance policy
  • If not, check with your insurance company that your policy has ‘DOC’ cover

DOC cover is usually on a third party basis only.

Uninsured/untraced drivers

If you are involved an accident caused by someone who has no insurance or you are involved in a ‘hit and run’ situation your claim will be run under a different procedure involving the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).  These cases are complex and we would strongly advise you use a solicitor.

For more information:

5.        Driving Abroad

Now that the UK has left the European Union there will be a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements.

The current rules on travel for the UK and EU will continue to apply during this transition period.

New rules will take effect on 1 January 2021.

If you intend to drive outside the UK you need to check what the local laws are in the areas you plan to visit.

Depending on the country you’re visiting you may need:

  • extra equipment – e.g. reflective jacket, warning triangle
  • emission stickers (permits) in some European cities – you may need to buy these weeks before you go abroad
  • headlight converter stickers
  • GB sticker

More information can be found here

Green Cards

A ‘green card’ is a document produced by car insurers to prove that a driver has adequate insurance cover for driving abroad.

You should contact your insurer at least a month before you travel to ensure that you get your documentation in good time.

More information can be found on the Motor Insurers’ Bureau website:




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MASS promotes the highest standards of legal services through education and representation in the pursuit of justice for victims of road traffic accidents.