Points to ponder

Posted on August 13th, 2012 by James Luckhurst

Facts relating to penalty points

Points to ponder
[Photo by brizzle born and bred]

  • The penalty points system was introduced in 1972.
  • A single offence can result in a driver receiving between 3 and 11 points.
  • It’s believed that around one in six or seven drivers has live penalty points (they are live for three years).
  • Collecting 12 or more penalty points in a three-year period results in a driver receiving a period of disqualification. This is referred to as totting up and such drivers have become known as totters.
  • There were 421,000 court endorsements handed to drivers in England and Wales during 2011.
  • 21% of the 86,500 driver disqualifications in 2011 occurred because of the totting up process.
  • A survey by Admiral Insurance in 2009 showed that lawyers appeared to receive the most penalty points, but judges, police officers and academics were also at higher than average risk.
  • Only 0.3% of drivers with one conviction will pick up three or more further convictions in the following three years. Whether this is because the first penalty was a successful deterrent or they might have employed certain means of not taking further points is unclear.
  • Two thirds of drivers who received three points for speeding offences claimed to be deterred by the risk of further detection, collision or penalty. However, 7% claimed to be undeterred. These were all males aged between 35 and 60, driving 15,000 miles a year or more.
  • 8% of those who received penalty points said they would get someone else to take their points if they received more.
  • Research from Direct Line revealed that 2% of those who should have received penalty points admitted that they had persuaded someone else to take them on their behalf.
  • Of those with penalty points, one in eight has accepted them from someone else.
  • Figures from the road safety charity Brake and Direct Line Insurance suggest that 43% of drivers eligible for disqualification in 2010 kept their licences, many pleading exceptional hardship in court. This figure is disputed by the Magistrates Association, which claims that the true estimate is nearer 11%.
  • Research from 2003 suggests that 42% of disqualified drivers breached their bans and drove during the period of disqualification. Drink drivers have relatively low breach rates, while rates among ‘totters’ are higher.
  • In 2011 there were 12,900 convictions for driving while disqualified. There were 58 convictions in England and Wales of causing death by driving unlicensed, uninsured or disqualified.
  • Insurance offences contribute two thirds to every ‘totting up’ disqualification.