Ban leniency ignites backlash

15.24 | 23 August 2011 | | 2 comments

Figures obtained by the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) show that a quarter of drivers in Norfolk who have reached the number of points required for a driving ban are still on the road.

The information, received following a freedom of information request, revealed 213 drivers had escaped a ban despite receiving 12 points or more. One Norwich driver was still allowed behind the wheel after accumulating 23 points.

Magistrates can use their discretion not to issue a ban if the driver can prove it would cause them exceptional hardship, but Norfolk-based road safety campaigners Bridget Wall and Liz Voysey have spoken out about the leniency shown to some drivers.

Bridget Wall, East Anglia co-ordinator for RoadPeace and member of road safety charity Brake, said: “It is not a licence to do what you wish. When you take the test, you pledge to drive safely on the roads. You don’t pass the test and say anything goes, but unfortunately the legal system is allowing it to happen. We have the rules and regulations and we should abide by them. If we break them then it is our own fault and we have to accept responsibility.”

Liz Voysey said: “I am disgusted in the powers that be. If society is allowed to use excuses all the time, nobody would ever get punished. What is the point of our legal system and justice system if we are not going to use it? There are no mitigating circumstances; everyone who drives knows the rules.”

A DVLA spokesperson 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.”

Click here to read the full EDP report.


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    When governments prosecute citizens in their millions, there are consequences and we see this all over the world.

    If government actions are not to cause civil unrest they must, at the very least, prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their actions provide a positive benefit to society.

    In the case of road safety in Britain, this has not been done – not by a long way.

    But in individual cases I would not be so quick to judge when I haven’t seen the evidence that the magistrates had before them, and the article provides no information no this whatsoever.

    Dave Finney – Slough
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    NO excuses – they are aware of the penalties. If it causes hardship then tough. Specially if it is through multiple speeding offences – getting 3 points each time is warning enough. 12 points automatic ban if they have spedcial circumstances they should think of those BEFORE they break the law, not as an excuse for lenient treatment when they get caught.

    Andy, Warwick
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