For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Hundreds of motorists still on region's road despite high points tally
A ROAD safety charity has branded the hundreds of motorists in the region still driving despite having 12 or more penalty points on their licence as "outrageous".
The Northern Echo can reveal that 430 drivers in the North-East and North Yorkshire remain behind the wheel despite racking up enough penalty points to trigger an automatic driving ban.
However, motorists who get 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 NE postcode area there are 159 motorists on the road with a dozen or more points on their licence. Three have more than 20.
Within the TS postcode area there are 87 drivers with 12 or more points. Nine have 15 points and one, 18.
Drivers in the following postcode areas all have 12 or more points on their licences: DL, 55; YO, 64, DH, 40 and SR, 25.
A spokesperson for 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 said the magistrates' courts sentencing guidelines provide a framework setting out how to establish the seriousness of each case and the appropriate way of dealing with it.
A 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.
A spokesman for the AA admitted it might seem odd to law-abiding drivers that someone with 12 points is allowed to keep their licence.
However, he added: "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 is convincing societal 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.
Chief examiner and head of driving standards at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Peter Rodger, said those who behave and drive well will need the support that others do not appear to be getting away with lower standards.
"If too many people are allowed to exceed the 12 point rule without being disqualified, the deterrent effect is weakened, and more people are likely to break the law and drive badly," he said.
Comments are closed on this article.