Penalty points on driving licences has added more than £159 million to car insurance premiums, new research has found.

Seven in ten drivers with penalty points are men and 72% of points were given for speeding, figures show.

Despite lockdown restrictions, the number of drivers with penalty points only fell by 3% annually in March.

But the number of points on your driving licence will make difference to the insurance prices you are quoted.

Statistics show that car insurance premiums remain largely unaffected if a driver has between 0 and 3 points on their licence, with the average annual premium increasing from £700 to £705.

However, if drivers jump from 3 to 6 points on their licence, they will see an average increase of £200 with the average premium at £937.

A figure that means on average having three points on your licence can mean a £131 increase in premiums each year.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance, compare the, said: “Motorists may not realise the long-term cost that poor driving can have on car insurance premiums.

“Our research shows the increase in premiums is often greater than the initial fine for irresponsible driving. Drivers will also face the more expensive premiums in each of the four years that the penalty points remain on their licence.

“The cost of car insurance typically rises when motorists receive points as insurers believe this increases the risk profile of the driver.

“Those with points on their licence are usually considered more likely to be in an accident, and therefore pay more for their policy.

"Our research shows that drivers aged over 40 are more likely to have points on their licence.”

He added: “While we have seen a substantial decline in car journeys because of lockdown restrictions, it is concerning that the number of drivers with penalty points has remained roughly the same as in the previous year.

“Beyond the obvious safety concerns, drivers should hopefully be incentivised by the financial impact to take care when on the road or risk being charged a significantly more for cover.”