Discretion Called For Over Driving Bans

I note with interest an article in today’s local paper regarding people being allowed to continue driving after they have amassed 12 or more penalty points on their driving licence.


Whilst not in any way seeking to downplay such matters, in my view reaching 12 points within a three year period does not necessarily render a driver ‘dangerous’ or warranting an immediate driving disqualification as suggested within the article.

Every individual and every situation should be based on its own merits. However, it seems to me somewhat draconian to suggest that all those who attain 12 points should automatically be banned regardless of personal mitigation and circumstances.

For example, is a driver who picks up four SP30 convictions (driving at 33mph in a 30mph zone), over a three year period, comparable to somebody who is convicted of serious careless driving and driving with no insurance offences, committed a week apart?

This is why the courts should have discretion to decide on who should and who should not keep their driving licence. I have represented a number of drivers over the years who find themselves in such a predicament. There is no guarantee the court will find in the defendant’s favour and allow them to keep their licence.

When a driver reaches 12 points the court will disqualify them as a ‘totter’ UNLESS they can demonstrate exceptional hardship, which would then result in a reduced ban or no ban at all. This is the exception rather than the rule. A driver would need legal advice and assistance to explain the merits of such an application.

If a court does not find exceptional hardship, the consequences can be disastrous for the driver. He or she, as well as looking at a minimum six month disqualification, may lose their employment and ultimately accommodation. This is not to mention the impact on family members and dependents.

If you find yourself in such a scenario or need legal advice on any motoring issue, then please call me on 07776 184489 or email stephen.scully@lblaw.co.uk.