Thousands of motorists are still allowed to drive despite garnering substantial penalty points for disqualification, an investigation has found.
Figures obtained by the PA news agency following a Freedom of Information request to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) show that there are 8,632 license holders in the UK with at least 12 marks.
Road safety charity Brake said it was “horrendous” that they were not banned, and police leaders said laws should be changed to prevent drivers from being exempted in court.
Points are put on a driver’s license when they have been convicted of a motoring offense, such as speeding (three to six points) and drink-driving (three to 11 points).
These dangerous repeat offenders have been given ample opportunity to change their driving behavior, yet continue to put lives at risk through complete defiance of the law.
Most drivers are disqualified for at least six months through the toting up process if they score 12 or more points within three years.
But courts have discretion to allow offenders to continue driving if they are able to prove emergent circumstances, including when the ban would cause extreme financial hardship.
The figures are a snapshot of the situation on 4 September.
Jason Wakeford, head of campaign at the brakes, said: “It is appalling that any driver can stay on country roads even after accumulating 12 points or more.
“These dangerous repeat offenders have been given ample opportunity to change their driving behavior, yet continue to put lives at risk through complete defiance of the law.
“If drivers who raise 12 points are not banned, it makes fun of the system.”
Jack Cousens, head of road policy for the AA, said motorists who scored 12 have demonstrated “persistent poor driving” and their licenses “should be removed”.
Andy Cox, who leads the work on the National Police Chiefs’ Council on Fatal Collision Investigations, told the PA that he would “welcome” the removal of the extraordinary hardship exemption, calling it a smattering of “where the system is out of kilter”. Example is.
The message sent by allowing this is “totally wrong” and “we need to change our culture”, he said.
An average of five people die and 60 are seriously injured on UK roads every day. Police believe that 90%-95% of accidents are due to the fault of the driver.
Detective Chief Superintendent Cox, who worked on road deaths and transport crime investigations for the Metropolitan Police and is now the head of crime and intelligence at Lincolnshire Police, said: “We don’t need that catastrophe, it stopped. can go.
“More people in the UK die from road collisions than they do because of murder or terrorism combined.”
Mark Jones, president of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said drivers with 12 points should face an automatic ban. They agreed that the exemption should be abolished and the laws should be reviewed while reviewing the guidelines to ensure “consistency” across all courts.
Mr Jones, the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, told the PA: “The point system allows people to make mistakes … at the time it was intentional, and you have to bear the consequences, which are your driving privileges-rights.” Rather, the privilege of driving should be revoked.”
Mr Cox and Mr Jones said patchy road crime data needed to be improved to understand the true scale of the problem.
The DVLA said drivers with 12 points are only allowed to hold their license “in a small percentage of cases”, which mostly include situations where disqualification would cause “extraordinary hardship”.
The government said it is for the courts to assess the evidence in each individual case to decide whether the mitigating circumstances justify the disqualification of an individual and will always be on the defendant’s record when dealing with an extraordinary hardship application. is considered.
The sentencing council said the guidelines, updated last year, make clear that “examination must not cause inconvenience or difficulty but of extraordinary difficulty, for which the court must have evidence”.