Politics

Scots driver with almost double usual disqualification points still on the road

DRIVERS with up to 23 points on their licence are still eligible to be on Scotland’s roads, a freedom of information request has revealed.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) records show that 220 people with addresses in Scotland have 12 or more points, 180 holding full licences and 40 with provisional licences.

The most points was 23.

Experienced drivers are normally disqualified for six months if they tot up 12 penalty points within a three-year period, while new drivers can have their licence revoked if they get six or more points within two years of passing their driving test, and be forced to resit it.

However courts can allow people to keep their licence if a totting up ban would cause them “exceptional hardship”, such as losing their job.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats’ FoI found that a total of 192,426 drivers with a Scottish address have accrued penalty points, 3,099 of those while on a provisional licence.

The party’s transport spokeswoman, Jill Reilly, called for a review of how persistent offenders are dealt with.

She said: “There are 180 drivers with 12 points or more on their record who are still on Scotland’s roads. For the safety of everyone driving home for Christmas it’s important that repeat offenders and wild drivers are kept off the roads.

“It’s possible that there are mitigating factors in some cases which justify these drivers hanging on to their right to drive.

“However, 12 points or more would seem to be a clear signal of reckless driving, which could put the driver and others at risk.

“As our roads get icy, and nights are longer, I would like to suggest to everyone, not just to bad drivers, where possible use public transport rather than a personal car.

“It helps the environment and keeps everyone safe.”

With most driving law reserved to Westminster, she urged the UK and Scottish governments to check if the right systems were in place “to put the brakes on problem drivers”.

In its FoI response, the DVLA said that after being disqualified drivers can re-apply for their licence, and so “can have a high number of valid penalty points and current entitlement to drive, even though the sentence of the court has been served. In a small percentage of cases, where the driver has accumulated 12 or more penalty points, the DVLA understands that a court can exercise its discretion and not disqualify the driver.

“In the majority of these cases, the court may have decided to allow drivers to retain their entitlement to drive where it is considered that disqualification would cause exceptional hardship.

“The DVLA checks with courts when a driver’s 12 current penalty point threshold is met or exceeded but where a disqualification is not imposed at the time of the conviction.

“We take this action to confirm that this is the intention of the court and to help ensure the DVLA records motoring convictions and sentences as accurately as possible.”

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