42 penalty points - and still allowed to drive
A woman driver from West London accumulated 42 penalty points last year without losing her driving licence, according to the IAM. The points were all for failing to disclose the identity of the driver.
The IAM is quoting figures published by the DVLA. Of the top 20 highest licence-points holders, only two are women.
The second-highest points total (36) went to a man from Warrington who was caught driving without insurance six times in less than two weeks.
Other notable offenders include: a man from Southend-on-Sea (30 points) who was caught speeding 10 times; a man from Blackburn (29 points) who was caught speeding eight times in two months; and a man from East Sussex, (24 points) who was caught speeding six times in just two weeks.
Failing to give the identity of the owner, speeding, and driving uninsured are the most common reasons for acculmulating points.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “It’s really disappointing to see that this issue has not yet been resolved.
"DVLA and the Courts Service are upgrading their computer systems to ensure that offence information is shared more efficiently, but this is not due to be in place until October. When drivers with 10 speeding offences are getting away with holding a licence, these improvements cannot come quickly enough.
"The IAM has no sympathy for owners who refuse to reveal the identity of the driver, and we would welcome an urgent consultation on new ways to deal with this problem.
"Drivers must expect that 12 points means a ban or the whole system falls into disrepute.”
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Courts are linked electronically to DVLA in this day and age, not like years ago when 'printouts' were requested. There is no excuse for this inequality. The real inequality is that those who can afford silver tongued legal representation tend to be the ones with accumulated points and no ban. Apparently we are not all equal. It does have a bearing on road safety as those people are not likely to improve their behaviour. Remember that some of those points will be for offences of careless/reckless driving too.
This story is elaborated upon in the Daily Mail and in their coverage, according to the IAM, the problem arises from "lack of communication between DVLA and Courts" and "data sharing". This suggest these people didn't excape a ban by gaining the sympathy of the Court, but, it would seem, from an administartive error! Still scandalous.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire
This article simply highlights the inequality of today's society and the same rules should apply to everyone. If those drivers don't want to get banned then they should not contravene traffic/construction and use laws - it's as simple as that.
There's everything in this story that should alarm 'us' from a road safety perspective. I don't want people like this mingling on the roads with the rest of us. On the bright side, fortunately, most do get banned. Perhaps for those individuals who escape bans, as part of the 'plea- bargaining' they could agree to have their vehicles branded - something along the lines of "Beware: persistent speeder" or "Not insured", or "Between you and me, I really shouldn't be driving" so we know who to steer clear of. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to know what the pleas actually were.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire
It is neither staggering or surprising in my view. We live in a society where an individual can commit an offence and plead that their job will be affected.
On how many occasions has a football club defended a footballer on the grounds that their club will be affected. On the same token individuals are allowed to retain licences due to hardship if they were to lose them.
Either we have a system in place that punishes all equally for crossing the line or we have system that can accommodate hardships, by offering a combined community punishment and penalty points.
I don't find it surprising that someone can accumulate 42 points and still retain their driving licence - I find it absolutely staggering.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
Are we surprised by this? When I was young, it was unusual (and embarrassing) to have points but these days it's common place with stories being told about how the points came about. Obviously this has occurred as a result of automated enforcement leading to what is called the “war on the motorist”.
There's nothing in the story that should alarm us from a road safety perspective, though, because the one really dangerous activity (drink driving) is not mentioned. Were drink drivers not being banned (and those bans enforced by Police officers in marked cars), that would be a major cause for concern.
Dave Finney, Slough