A ROAD safety charity has branded the number of motorists in the region still driving despite having 12 or more penalty points on their licence as “outrageous”.

There are 430 drivers in North Yorkshire and the north-east who remain behind the wheel despite racking up enough penalty points to trigger an automatic driving ban.

However, motorists who receive 12 penalty points or more can avoid losing their licence if they can prove to a court that a ban would cause “exceptional hardship” – for example, the loss of a job.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that in the YO postcode area there are 64 motorists on the road with a dozen or more points on their licence.

In the NE postcode area there are 159 drivers on the road with 12 or more points on their licence. Three have more than 20.

A spokesperson for the road safety charity, Brake, said that when the points system was designed, it was not intended that so many drivers with 12 points would avoid a ban.

“It is outrageous these individuals, who rack up offence after offence, are allowed to continue driving, causing enormous risk to the public,” he said.

“It’s time for the Government to get tough with these selfish, irresponsible and potentially deadly drivers, and put a stop to their illegal and dangerous driving before it results in a devastating crash.”

The Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) said the magistrates’ courts sentencing guidelines provided a framework setting out how to establish the seriousness of each case and the appropriate way of dealing with it.

A DVLA spokesman said: “In the majority of these cases, magistrates may have decided to allow the drivers to retain their entitlement to drive where it is considered that disqualification would cause exceptional hardship.”

In the latest national figures, more than 9,000 UK motorists who had totted up 12 points or more had been allowed to keep their licences.

An AA spokesman said it might seem odd to law-abiding drivers that someone with 12 points is allowed to keep their licence.

However, he said: “The courts have to decide on individual circumstances and they sometimes come to the decision not to impose a ban. It can be that there are convincing reasons why you don’t give a ban, if someone is particularly ill for example with cancer or another serious illness.”

Legal experts say courts are becoming more lenient due to a variety of factors, including the rise in the number of speed cameras and the potential impact of a driving ban during the current economic downturn.


Drink-drive crack-down continues

POLICE are continuing their festive drink-drive crack-down, with 109 motorists now arrested since December 1.

Officers have conducted 3,412 breath tests over the same period and will be out in force across North Yorkshire and the city of York looking for offenders.

Traffic Sergeant Pete Stringer, of North Yorkshire Police’s roads policing group, said: “It is impossible to stress enough just how much drink or drug driving can impact on people’s lives.

“It isn’t just a case of you losing your licence for a while if you get caught; there are much wider implications like losing your livelihood and putting your family’s future at risk.

“Even worse, if you get behind the wheel while under the influence of drink and drugs you risk killing somebody.”