Twelve penalty points equals a driving ban, right? Well normally that is the case. But if you live in the South West of England things seem to work a little differently.
A Freedom of Information request from the BBC has led the DVLA to reveal that 638 drivers in Bristol, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire have 12 or more points.
And a Swindon motorist has a record 39 penalty points on his or her licence – but not been banned.
If you reach the 12 point threshold it is up to a court to decide whether your license is taken away. The driver can argue that disqualification would cause exceptional hardship – either financial or personal.
If the court finds the hardship argument applies, the ban can be avoided. But if the driver then accrues further penalty points within three years, the same exceptional circumstances cannot be cited again.
But how many exceptional circumstances can one Swindon driver possibly have?
Elliot Griffiths, from the Magistrates’ Association, said:, “I can’t even conceive how somebody can have 20, 30, 40 points and not be disqualified. I can’t work it out. I’d be very interested to see how it happened.”
Wouldn’t we all, Mr Griffiths.
Road safety campaigners are also astonished at this revelation.
Cath Harley from the safety charity Brake said the figure was “shocking”.
“It’s completely unacceptable that people are clocking up to 39 points on their licence,” she said. “Again this is a risk to other road users and it’s absolutely vital that people who exceed 12 points on their licence do in fact receive a driving ban.”
Something strange is happening in Swindon it seems. Or perhaps the driver in question has the best lawyer in the world fighting his or her numerous cases.