How Long Does a Section 59 Last?

Written by Danny Collins
Last updated: January 26, 2024
section 59

In the United Kingdom, there is a robust system of rules and regulations that are designed to keep people safe on the roads. One such rule is known as Section 59, which plays a crucial role in deterring reckless driving behaviour. However, there is often confusion about what exactly constitutes a Section 59, how it is issued, and importantly, how long it lasts. This article aims to demystify Section 59 and shed light on these frequently asked questions.

What is a Section 59?

Section 59 is a provision under the Police Reform Act 2002 in the United Kingdom that grants the police the power to stop, seize, and remove a motor vehicle. This measure is enforced when a vehicle is used in a manner that causes alarm, distress, disturbance or exhibits dangerous behaviour. It is primarily aimed at addressing what is known as ‘vehicle anti-social behaviour.’ In this article, we will explore the various circumstances that constitute a Section 59 and shed light on how long this warning can last.

What Constitutes a Section 59?

Under Section 59, several actions can lead to the issuance of a warning. Let’s take a closer look at some of the behaviours that fall within the scope of this provision:

Street Racing

Engaging in street racing, which involves two or more vehicles competing on public roads, is a clear violation of traffic regulations. Street racing poses a significant risk to public safety and is considered a serious offence.

Car stunts

Performing car stunts such as handbrake turns or wheelies on public roads is not only reckless but also endangers the lives of others. These actions are strictly prohibited and can lead to the application of Section 59.


Cruising refers to the act of a group of drivers driving slowly or repeatedly circling a particular area. This behaviour often leads to congestion, annoyance, and disruptions to other road users. A warning is usually issued as a first step, but if the drivers persist, Section 59 can be invoked.

Using Unlicensed Electric Power Vehicles

The use of particular electric power vehicles, such as hoverboards, private e-scooters, and quad bikes, on public roads is illegal in the UK. These vehicles are not designed or permitted for use on highways and can contribute to accidents and disturbances.

Using Your Vehicle Off-Road

Using a vehicle off-road without the permission of the landowner is a violation of the law. This includes all types of vehicles, including quad bikes and land rovers. Off-road driving can cause damage to the environment and private property, leading to the application of Section 59.

What happens next if you get a Section 59?

If you receive a Section 59 warning, there are certain consequences that you need to be aware of. Firstly, uniformed constables may seize your vehicle if they have reason to believe that it is being driven recklessly or in a manner that violates the Section 59 provisions.

Once your vehicle is seized, you will be required to pay recovery costs, which typically amount to £150. A storage fee of £20 per day may apply until you reclaim your vehicle. It is essential to comply with the instructions provided by the police to avoid further penalties or complications.

How Long is a Section 59?

The duration of a Section 59 warning can vary depending on the circumstances and severity of the offence. In general, the warning can last up to 12 months. However, in some cases, it may be issued for a shorter period, such as 6 months. The decision regarding the duration is at the discretion of the authorities involved.

During the specified period, it is crucial to exercise caution and abide by all traffic regulations to avoid any further incidents that could prolong or escalate the consequences of the Section 59 warning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Get Points on My Licence for Section 59?

No, a Section 59 warning does not result in points being added to your driving licence. However, it is important to note that if you continue to engage in behaviours that violate the Section 59 provisions or commit other traffic offences, you may accumulate penalty points on your licence. These points are typically associated with specific traffic offences, such as speeding, running red lights, or driving under the influence.

Is Section 59 Classed as a Conviction?

No, a Section 59 warning is not considered a conviction. It is a cautionary measure implemented by the police to address vehicle anti-social behaviour. However, it is crucial to understand that if you fail to comply with the warning or engage in similar offences within the specified period, it may result in further legal action, potential convictions, and the associated consequences.

Can I Receive a Section 59 in the Post?

Typically, a Section 59 warning is not delivered through the mail. It is usually issued by uniformed constables at the time of the incident when they witness the vehicle being used in a manner that violates the Section 59 provisions. The warning may be provided verbally or in writing, and you will be made aware of the consequences and duration of the warning.

Do I Have to Tell My Insurance About a Section 59?

Although it is not a legal requirement to inform your insurance provider about receiving a Section 59 warning, it is advisable to do so. Even though Section 59 is not classified as a conviction, insurance companies often inquire about any warnings or cautions you have received when determining your insurance premiums. Failing to disclose this information when asked by your insurance provider could potentially invalidate your policy or result in issues with future claims.

It is essential to review your insurance policy terms and conditions and consult with your insurance provider to ensure you understand their specific requirements regarding Section 59 warnings or other driving-related incidents.


Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 empowers the police in the United Kingdom to address vehicle anti-social behaviour by stopping, seizing, and removing motor vehicles used in a manner that causes alarm, distress, disturbance, or exhibits dangerous behaviour. Offences such as street racing, car stunts, cruising, using unlicensed electric power vehicles, and off-road driving can lead to the application of Section 59.