900 motorists across south still driving despite having 12 or more penalty points

Thousands of people are still legally driving despite having more than 12 penalty points on their licence  Photo: PA
Thousands of people are still legally driving despite having more than 12 penalty points on their licence Photo: PA

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Around 900 drivers in the south are still legally on the road despite having racked up enough penalty points for a ban.

The tally is revealed in BBC research that shows one driver who racked up 62 penalty points on his licence is among thousands of motorists still allowed to drive despite exceeding the limit to qualify for a ban,

The speeding West Yokshire man is one of 10,000 drivers legally using Britain’s roads last month, despite having more than 12 points, according to an investigation.

Typically drivers with 12 penalty points must attend court to face a six-month ban but magistrates can choose otherwise if the offender shows that losing their licence will cause ‘exceptional hardship’.

Some 203 people were still driving despite notching up more than 18 points, while Greater London was the worst offending area with 1,385 motorists qualifying for a ban, showed the Freedom of Information request by the BBC that also revealed the 900 tally for the south.

David Nichols, of road safety charity Brake, was outraged by the results.

Speaking to the broadcaster, he said: ‘The penalty points system is supposed to be in place to protect the public from dangerous repeat offenders and it’s appalling that these risky repeat offenders are allowed to keep driving.’

Common reasons for so many points being built up include a failure to inform the DVLA of an address change, followed by speeding offences.

The loss of a job is not enough to pass the “exceptional hardship” test but magistrates may decide not to ban an offender if it would cause bankruptcy or the default of a mortgage, legal experts say.

Sheena Jowett, deputy chairman of the Magistrates’ Association, the independent charity representing magistrates in England and Wales, said: ‘Magistrates take decisions under clear guidelines, impartially, and on the merits of each individual case.

‘Automatic disqualification can be avoided or reduced in cases of ‘exceptional hardship’.

‘The process is a robust one and the concept of hardship must be proved to an exceptional level.’

It is not known why the West Yorkshire man was allowed to continue driving.