Dozens of dangerous drivers with 12 points or more on their licence are ‘putting lives at risk’ on Peterborough roads, it has been claimed.
The Peterborough Telegraph can reveal 120 drivers on Peterborough roads have at least 12 points on their driving licence and can continue to get behind the wheel - with one person having an incredible 24 points. Drivers normally face disqualification when they ‘tot up’ 12 points.
Many are able to drive despite totting up the points after magistrates said there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ or a ban would cause ‘exceptional hardship.’
The shocking figures have been revealed following a Freedom of Information request by the PT.
After the figures were released a spokesman for road safety charity Brake called for a change in the law.
The spokesman said; “It is disgraceful that these drivers are still driving on our roads, despite having accumulated 12 points or more on their licence.
“These dangerous repeat offenders have been granted ample opportunity to change their driving behaviour yet continue to put lives at risk through their complete disregard for the law.
“This situation makes a mockery of the penalty points system and the Government must take action and ensure all drivers with more than 12 points receive an automatic driving ban.”
Andy Cave is a partner at solicitors Hunt and Coombs, in Thorpe Road, which has helped drivers with 12 or more points escape losing their licence.
Mr Cave said the difficulty in cases where a driver has 12 points is to show the court the difference between ‘hardship’ (which a driving ban will inevitably cause) and ‘exceptional hardship’.
He explained: “Losing your job is not exceptional hardship. The effect of the loss of job might mean a loss of your home, for you and your family. This would probably amount to exceptional hardship.
“If a loss of licence would mean a child might have to move school, or someone could show that an illness would be negatively affected to a large degree, then these issues may be considered to cause exceptional hardship.
“The secret to winning a exceptional hardship case is to be able to provide to the court documentation which shows the exceptional hardship caused.
“This may be letters from employers, medical evidence, financial evidence and letters from people who can confirm the effect of a ban.”
What the DVLA says about points:
A spokesman for the DVLA said figures ‘include cases where drivers have received court sentences including disqualification, supervision orders, community punishment orders or imprisonment.
Where sentences have been imposed other than through the totting-up process, the penalty points follow standard periods of validity according to the offences concerned.
Following the period of disqualification imposed, drivers can re-apply for their licence meaning that they can have a high number of valid penalty points and current entitlement to drive, even though the sentence of the court has been served.
“The agency understands 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.”
What the law says about points
Drivers can receive points on their licence for a number of offences.
They include failing to stop after an accident, driving whilst disqualified and even using a car with defective brakes, along with more common offences such as speeding, driving with no insurance and using a phone while driving.
Last year The Peterborough Telegraph revealed there were 5,301 uninsured vehicles in the city - the most across Cambridgeshire.
Drivers are normally disqualified if they rack up 12 or more points in the space of three years. Bans start at six months - but can be reduced or extended due to mitigating or aggravating features.
For magistrates not to ban the driver, they most show a disqualification would cause ‘exceptional hardship.’
Drivers can only use the reason for exceptional hardship once - if they rack up more points on their licence and want to use the exceptional hardship law, they must come up with a second reason.
Drivers who pick up six points within two years of passing their test face disqualification in the way more experienced drivers are banned after 12 points.
People can have points put on provisional licences, as well as full driving licences.
If you are disqualified due to totting up, points on your licence are erased.
Drivers disqualified for drink driving can not get the ban lifted for exceptional hardship reasons.