IAM calls for crackdown on persistent offenders

12.00 | 7 January 2016 | | 2 comments

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has called for tougher penalties on persistent offenders after revealing that three drivers with more than 40 points on their driving licences are still on the road.

The IAM’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request also found 13 people who currently have 28 or more points on their driving licence, the worst of those amassing 51 points.

In addition, the number of drivers with 12 or more points has increased by 9% in just seven months between March and October 2015 – from 6,884 to 7,517.

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: “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.”

In October, GEM issued a call for a renewed focus to rid the UK’s roads of the most dangerous and persistent offenders, echoing a plea from the European Traffic Police Network, TISPOL.

In its reply to the IAM’s FOI 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 45m driving licence holders in Britain, three million have points on their licence while some 100,000 have been disqualified over the past four years for acculmulating 12 points.

The DVLA also says its evidence suggests that in 90% of cases where a driver reaches 12 points but is not disqualified, this is due to ‘judicial discretion’.

Sarah Sillars added: “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.


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    I believe that you are wrong in your comments for the following reasons:

    Speeding and some other offences attracting points are actually “strict liability” offences in that the offence is deemed to have been committed regardless of the reasons for doing so.

    Whilst there can be some mitigation of the penalty points or fines for such offences based on circumstances once one becomes a “totter” and by virtue of the offence reaches 12 or more points then there can be no mitigation of the disqualification due to either the circumstances of the offence. In fact suffering hardship” on its own does not allow the ban to be avoided and only “exceptional hardship” may be used to justify not imposing a ban.

    Hence, whether the prosecution is automated or no, or the circumstances of the offence have no bearing whatsoever on the avoidance of a ban. Therefore your assertion that it is judges using their discretion not to ban totters due to the automated nature of the prosecution is unfounded.

    I found the following a useful reference which I assume to be a correct analysis of current practice http://www.onepaper.co.uk/JAM%20Exceptional%20hardship.pdf

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    This story circulates every year and is the result of mass automated prosecution that lacks discretion. The DVLA have answered it with two words: ‘judicial discretion.’ My last words on this until 2017.

    Paul Biggs, Tamworth
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