Scotland has almost three-hundred motorists who are still legally driving despite having enough penalty points on their licence to be banned. They are among the 9,000 throughout Great Britain who have accumulated at least 12 points during the last three years according to data from the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).
The issue has split motoring groups in two, while some have backed the right of the courts to allow some drivers to keep their licence to avoid exceptional hardship; others feel this makes a mockery of the points system. The figures show that Glasgow has the highest number of such drivers at 93 followed by 31 in Edinburgh and 11 in Dundee. Scotland has a far smaller proportion of such motorists who have held on to their licences than in England, with Glasgow placed only 24th in the list of places with the highest percentages. Most 12-penalty point drivers are in the north of England, where Blackpool has the highest percentage, followed by Oldham and Manchester. Only one southern place (Peterborough) features in the top fifteen. There has also been an increase in the number of drivers with at least 12 points requesting a Car Insurance Broker to find them a policy.
Neil Grieg, policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists said: “This undermines the whole penalty point system and gives the impression you might still get away with it if you speed. Courts should have a little leeway for individual circumstances, but these numbers are much higher than we would have expected. It is concerning that motorists with so many points can legally be allowed to continue to drive. We would hope, at the very least, these drivers are having to undertake re-training to ensure they do not re-offend, but understand this is rarely the case.”
In Scotland the courts determined each case on its merits and gave full consideration to the most appropriate way of dealing with the offender and there is no doubt that geographical position is taken into consideration. A number of drivers in remote parts of Scotland will be so dependent on their vehicles that their driving licence is a vital life-line for getting to work, shops or medical supplies.