As former One Direction star, Liam Payne, of Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, found out to his cost you don’t have to drive at excessively high speeds to receive a driving ban. Payne, who was doing 43mph in a 30mph zone on the A40/Westway flyover near Shepherds Bush, received a six month ban and a £293 fine. He was also told to pay a surcharge of £117 and £90 in costs.

Why would a person be disqualified if not speeding excessively over the limit?

It is easy to ask why a person would be disqualified for six months if they were not speeding excessively. The court has discretion to disqualify a driver for any speeding offence. Often, for speeds that are not excessively over the speed limit, drivers receive points on their licence rather than a ban.

Where a ban is given for speeds that are not excessively over the speed limit, it is often likely that it is not the offence itself that has resulted in a ban but a culmination of offences.

Is a culmination of offences categorised as a ‘totting’ situation?

Yes, this occurs where an individual accumulates more and more points on their licence within a three year period (the commission date of the offence being the key date). Six months is the minimum period that a driver would be disqualified for. The court could issue a longer ban depending on the person’s driving record, unless the driver can satisfy the court that the loss of their licence would cause them, or others, exceptional hardship.

What do the courts consider exceptional hardship?

This has been defined in law as consequences that are severe and out of ordinary. The court will give greater weight to hardship where it caused impact to an innocent third party.

Each case will depend on its own facts and these will affect the outcome. It is very important to obtain legal advice if you feel your licence is at risk and you rely upon it.

For further advice on this topic or other criminal matters, please get in touch with our criminal law team at or call 01753 889995.

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Jonothan Moss
Principal Lawyer

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