Motoring offences that could see you hit with four-figure fines

motoring offences
Splash someone intentionally by driving through a puddle and it could cost you a lot of money (Picture iStock/Helivideo)

Owning and driving a car is already an expensive business. But there are various motoring offences that could make it even pricier if you commit them. We’ve hunted down a selection of the four-figure fines that you could be hit with for driving, car and admin infringements.

You might be surprised to read that some fines for what might seem like fairly petty offences are actually quite hefty.

Dodgy tyres could get you the biggest fine

If you have four illegal tyres, you could be hit with a £2,500 fine per dodgy tyre plus three penalty points on your licence. That means for four unroadworthy tyres, a driver could be stung with a £10,000 fine and lose their licence with 12 penalty points.

But that’s in a very extreme case. It’ll be obvious the driver has been putting themselves and other road users at risk. What’s more, they will probably have been doing so knowingly and over a period of time.

If a police officer or officer from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency notices a tyre that’s worn a bit beyond the 1.6mm legal tread depth, they will usually decide whether to give a fixed penalty notice. That will be a fine between £50 and £300.

In serious cases, they will refer offenders to court. The magistrates then decide how much the fine will be. Courts take a dim view of motoring offences such as driving with bald tyres. According to research by, the average tyre offender is hit with six points on their licence. And those who have been fined by the courts pay an average of £2,700.

Anti-social driving

Drive without reasonable consideration for other road users and you could be liable for a fine of up to £5,000. But that is for extreme cases. Splash a pedestrian by driving through a puddle and you’re probably more likely to get a £100 fixed penalty notice.

Equally, swearing at another driver might be considered disorderly conduct. The result could be a fine that’s 75 per cent of your weekly income, up to a maximum £1,000. In extreme cases, if it’s judged to be threatening behaviour, the fine can be as much as £5,000.

motoring offences
Man points and swears at another motorist while driving a car (Picture iStock/Brazzo)

Driving with no MOT could land a hefty penalty

If the police stop you because their Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras show you don’t have a valid MOT, that’s a motoring offence that could result in a £1,000 fine.

As with the illegal tyres, if it’s your first offence, it’s a genuine oversight and you get an MOT swiftly, you’re likely to get away with a lot less. But if your car isn’t roadworthy…

Driving an unroadworthy car? Best not to

The fine for driving with no MOT is significant. But if your car doesn’t have an MOT, there’s a good chance it will have some faults that make it unroadworthy too. Driving a car that isn’t safe to be on the road attracts a £2,500 fine in extreme cases.

If that doesn’t deter you, the points might. A court can award you three points for every fault. So faulty lights will be three points, unsafe brakes three points, a bald tyre three points and so on. It’ll only take four faults before you’ve reached the 12 points to lose your licence.

Check your cat

Catalytic converters are expensive bits of kit. And cat thefts have been soaring (they’ve more than doubled over the past 12 months according to research by Which?). Yours might have been stolen and not replaced. Or perhaps it’s failed and you’ve taken it out instead of replacing it. In either case, you could be hit with a £1,000 fine.

Like the other penalties, you’re unlikely to get the full £1,000 fine if your cat was only pinched the previous week. But it could still be expensive.

Keep on top of the admin

Moving house can be a busy time. But forgetting to tell the DVLA might result in a fine of up to £1,000. As with all the others, this is in extreme cases when you haven’t told them for years. But even so, no fine is a good fine.

Don’t mess with your number plates

With winter coming, the roads are going to get dirty. And that means car number plates can become obscured. A bit of muck is fine. But the authorities take a dim view of number plates that are so filthy they can’t be read. Equally, number plate lights that don’t work and character spacing, size or fonts that don’t comply with the law could all land you with a £1,000 penalty.

28 comments on “Motoring offences that could see you hit with four-figure fines

  1. Ray 26/11/2021 8:16 PM

    There are loads of number plates with wrong character spacing but noo action seems to be taken.

    • Martin Robson 12/12/2021 2:12 PM

      I got a £100 fixed penalty for my number plate being “non-conforming” (Lincs) but it was recognisable enough to know where to send the ticket!!

  2. christopher harris 26/11/2021 9:39 PM

    Thanks very useful.

  3. christopher harris 26/11/2021 9:40 PM


  4. Huda Awad 26/11/2021 9:45 PM

    This is extortion. Whatever is next? Blood perhaps. As if the sharp rise in petrol prices is not enough. It is the Electric Agenda. I watched a cartoon today with my friend’s toddler, I was shocked with the propaganda about electric cars and how GREEN it is. Really?

  5. P.Hallam 27/11/2021 10:01 AM

    Very informative thank you to bringing it to my attention

  6. Geoff Grubb 27/11/2021 10:04 AM

    thank you some of the noted fines i had no idea good to now .

  7. Susan Woodhead 27/11/2021 10:29 AM

    Interesting information but how do you prove that these things have happened and get redress ? Having been splashed on my walk how do I take action about it ? More details please.

  8. Russell 27/11/2021 8:07 PM

    10 cars aproaching me in a stretch of 8 miles with only one headlight, no-one cares or does anything about it !!

  9. Brenda Jones 27/11/2021 8:14 PM

    Very good tips I am so aware of what I have to do in my diary so I check constantly that everything has been done to keep legal.

  10. M. Hook 27/11/2021 8:19 PM

    Keeping up with all the latest rules and regulations is a full time job, living in the country where busses in the villages are rarer than hens teeth let alone bus lanes ,but you are expected to be fully up to date with worn out signs and regulations you have never come across. How many city drivers have the first idea about driving in the country side where you quite likely meet livestock and farm equipment bigger than a double decker bus.

  11. Barry robin McKee 27/11/2021 8:20 PM

    useful, thanks

  12. Boris 27/11/2021 9:20 PM

    Shame they do nothing about personal plates which do not comply.

    Don’t mess with your number plates
    With winter coming, the roads are going to get dirty. And that means car number plates can become obscured. A bit of muck is fine. But the authorities take a dim view of number plates that are so filthy they can’t be read. Equally, number plate lights that don’t work and character spacing, size or fonts that don’t comply with the law could all land you with a £1,000 penalty.

    • Martin Robson 12/12/2021 2:15 PM

      Why, what’s your problem with them. As long as they can be recognised, who cares about moving the spacing

  13. Maurice Harris 27/11/2021 10:22 PM

    For those with private number plates transferred from a ULEZ non compliant car to one that is compliant, may I ask that you check on TFL website re compliance. I was lucky enough to be going into zone 1 for a trip to the theatre, needed to pay the congestion zone and was told my petrol BMW 2014, Euro 6, etc was not compliant and I needed to pay the ULEZ as well as the congestion charge.
    I needed to send a copy of my log book to TFL and this was not enough I was told that I needed to send a conformity certificate from BMW after 5-10 days a reply to say that my car was compliant all along.
    I have received my £12.50 that was paid in error to TFL but I have not been told of any fines that I may of accrued wrongly since the 25/10/2021 when the charge commenced. I would like confirmation that any fines up until the time that TFL corrected their mistake are admonished but they have not sent me confirmation of this.
    Please be careful as I do feel that I found out TFL mistake fairly quickly others may find themselves fighting fines and possibly bailiff actions- so please check as I am sure I am not the only motorist to come up against this bureaucracy of TFL

  14. Fiona 28/11/2021 12:00 AM

    Common bloody sense

  15. Ralph Joseph Caird Callan 28/11/2021 12:32 PM

    Thanks for the update

  16. Jerry Spear 28/11/2021 12:55 PM

    Thanks for all that will be aware! J S

  17. Raymond 28/11/2021 12:59 PM

    Excellent information guys!.

  18. Nick Lamborne 29/11/2021 6:28 AM

    Annual MOT’s on UK cars under ten years old should change to every two years as most continental countries do.

  19. SID 29/11/2021 4:16 PM

    Thank you for the info. It makes me check, and know that I can drive safely.

  20. David Maw 30/11/2021 7:32 AM

    All this information is good to know, and a good reminder.

  21. Peter 30/11/2021 9:30 AM

    It’s a pity the tampering with licence plate spacing is not enforced

  22. Duncan Keir 30/11/2021 1:49 PM

    very helpful information

  23. David Double 30/11/2021 5:07 PM

    handy information, thank you

  24. Michael Russell 30/11/2021 8:01 PM

    Thank you. Useful – and surprising

  25. Mike Godfrey 06/12/2021 12:12 AM

    We see number plates with character spacing.that does not comply with the law, virtually every time we drive. We have never seen anyone pulled over by the Police for this. What is the point of a law if it is not enforced?

  26. Rose Carter 07/12/2021 2:09 PM


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