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More than 200 Welsh motorists still driving despite having 12 penalty points

Thursday 28th July 2016

213 motorists in Wales are still legally driving despite having 12 penalty points on their licence, according to figures obtained by the BBC.

The data, obtained by the BBC via a freedom of information request to the DVLA, shows one person is still driving despite amassing 27 points.

Under the current law, drivers who accumulate 12 or more points within a three-year period usually face disqualification. The courts decide the length of disqualification - or if a driver should face one at all - based on how serious they consider the offence(s) to be.

A spokesperson for the DVLA told the BBC: “In a small percentage of cases where the driver has accumulated 12 or more penalty points, the court may 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.”

Last October, GEM Motoring Assist called for a renewed focus to rid the UK’s roads of the most dangerous and persistent offenders, something it argues would have an ‘immediate and significant impact’ on road casualties.

And earlier this month, Brake launched a new campaign challenging the Government to review criminal driving charges.

Jack Kushner, spokesman for the road safety charity, told the BBC: “[It is] appalling that risky, repeat offenders are being allowed to continue driving with so many points on their licences.

"Drivers who flout the law repeatedly have shown disregard for not only their own lives but also those of other road users, and should be punished accordingly.

"It's time for the courts to protect innocent road users and crack down on these irresponsible individuals."

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I believe that the issue of waiving bans for totting up points is as follows:

The waiving of a ban is separate from the awarding of points. How the points are totted up and for what offence is irrelevant to the issue of whether the automatic ban that is triggered by the points can be appealed against on the grounds of "exceptional hardship".

When assessing an appeal for "exceptional hardship" judges will only take account of the effect of a ban on the individual and cannot take into account the circumstances of how the points were awarded.

You may disagree with this, but this is how the law is applied.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (7) | Disagree (3)
+4

Anything over 15 points (12 points, plus one successful exceptional hardship plea) would have to be because of something along the lines of a string of motoring offences that occured at the same time.

One particular case I recall the chap had 7 6-pointers issued for Failure to Furnish under S172 RTA, for things like speeding or red light offences in a period of a week.

The court accepted his plea that he had been acting unresponsively due to uh, severe emotional stress (I think?) and decided to give him the 42 points as a warning.

Not as clear cut as it seems.
David Weston, Corby

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)
+5

I think the last time this story came up on the news feed, it was revealed that the 'non-banning' was a result of a breakdown in communications between the courts and the DVLA, rather than the court being lenient. In other words, they were supposed to have been banned, but through admin or procedurial errors, they weren't. This might not be the explanation for all of these cases obviously.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (4)
0

It would be easy to make ill-informed assertions based on this data, but without knowing what offences each of the points was for, and the precise circumstances, it is impossible to offer a rational and informed opinion as to whether allowing these particular drivers to continue to drive exposes other road users to any extra risk. Presumably the judge or magistrate concerned has access to this data and has decided that in these cases there is nothing to worry about.

What would also be interesting to know is what proportion of the total population of drivers in Wales with 12 points this represents.
Charles, England

Agree (11) | Disagree (6)
+5