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Mascots, soaked pedestrians and Fido in the front seat - unusual driving offences that could result in penalty points

CompareNI.com have some advice on how to play it safe and keep the premiums down

 'PAWS' AND THINK: Driving with your dog unrestrained is distracting, dangerous and can land you penalty points

With a motorist charged earlier this month for giving a speed camera a rude finger gesture, with both hands, rendering him not in control of the vehicle, insurance comparison site CompareNI.com warns motorists that this is just one of the many unusual motoring offences that can result in points on a licence or a fine.

Furious driving, a dirty or frozen windscreen or number plate, excessive noise, travelling with an unsecure pet and distraction by food or drink, may be some of the lesser-known items on the offence list. However, there are also some more unconventional misdemeanours such as having a dangerous mascot, soaking pedestrians with large puddles and not having or wearing the appropriate sunglasses. 

Some offences themselves can even be confusing, for instance ‘play street offences’ relates to a motoring violation when an area is designated for kids to play at certain times so there may be restrictions to speed, access and parking.  And although, ‘idling whilst stationary’ is used by some to warm or defrost the car on winter mornings, running the engine unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary pollutes the environment, and can produce twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion.  

MAKING A SPLASH ISN'T ALWAYS A GOOD THING: Slow down when approaching a big puddle as soaking a pedestrian can land you in deep water

As Northern Ireland's largest insurance comparison website, CompareNI.com is warning motorists across the country that these unusual offences are just some of the ways they could land themselves with penalty points - and potentially higher premiums. Three penalty points can add 5 per cent every year to premiums until the penalty is spent five years later. The bad news might not stop there if a driver has points already, as six points can add as much as 25 per cent to premiums. 

Speeding and driving without insurance are the two motoring offences most frequently committed in Northern Ireland. Speeding increased by 11 per cent throughout the pandemic to 8,527 offences with insurance following close behind with 8,249 offences - interestingly an 18 per cent decrease for the same time period, December 1 2019 to November 30 2020. Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks incurs 6-8 penalty points, with points staying on the driving record for four years since the date of the offence. 

CompareNI.com’s founder Greg Wilson comments: “Some of the lesser-known driving offences were quite surprising, so it’s good to make people aware as they may not be conscious that they are breaking the rules. 

“Safe and conscientious driving is always advisable especially when penalty points can increase premiums significantly, so it’s sensible to compare quotes and policies – which our comparison website can help with. We also have some providers that specialise in convicted driver policies which can sometimes make premiums more competitive.

“It’s also important to be honest with your providers - if details are inaccurate it can lead to the policy being declared void, which leaves you unprotected should you need to make a claim.”

Recommended by 97 per cent of reviewers, CompareNI.com is Northern Ireland’s largest insurance comparison website, together with sister website Quotezone.co.uk, they help around 3 million users every year.

These pioneering websites were created by parent company Seopa to enable customers to find better deals on their insurance by comparing quotes from a wide range of insurance providers - covering over 400 insurance brands across 60 different products.

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