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UK driver with 51 penalty points still entitled to drive

Mar 10, 2016
If you’re a driver, you probably think that if you were silly or careless enough to get 12 penalty points on your licence during a three year period the courts would ban you from driving.

But according to a recent Freedom of Information request to the DVLA by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) this is not always the case. If fact the information showed there are over 7500 drivers in the UK legally entitled to drive who have more than 12 points on their licences, 13 have 28 or more and one has a staggering 51!   


The numbers of drivers with 12 or more points has gone up by 9% in just seven months between March and October 2015 – from 6,884 to 7,517. While the DVLA does not hold details as to whether all of those individuals were still on the road, it did state that individual courts have the powers to choose not to disqualify a driver.  

In its reply to the IAM’s request, the DVLA said, “In a small percentage of cases where the driver has accumulated 12 or more penalty points, the agency understands that a court can exercise its discretion and not disqualify the driver. In the majority of these cases, magistrates may have decided to allow drivers to retain their entitlement to drive where it is considered that disqualification would cause exceptional hardship.”  

DVLA data shows that of the 45 million driving licence holders in Britain, three million have points on their licence. Some 100,000 have been disqualified over the past four years for reaching 12 points and four per cent got all their points in one go. The DVLA also said their evidence suggests 90% of drivers not disqualified are due to ‘judicial discretion’.  

Sarah Sillars, IAM Chief Executive Officer said, “The IAM has been highlighting this issue for several years now and we appreciate that the flow of information between the DVLA and the courts is slowly improving, which will allow the courts to make better decisions while armed with the full facts. However these improvements cannot come quickly enough to deliver a truly joined-up approach to the judicial process. Individual courts making decision on prosecutions can lead to inconsistency in how the law is applied which risks devaluing the simple ‘12 points and you’re out’ road safety message. If the public sees that persistent offenders are getting away with it, they may believe that road traffic rules – which let not us not forget, are designed for their safety – are ineffective or unimportant.”  

Photo: IAM Chief Executive Officer Sarah Sillars

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