Safety groups along with the usual suspects (aka the Daily Mail) have gone into seeming hysterics (which is how I interpret “voice alarm”) over the figures that 9,000 motorists are driving around with 12 points or more on their license.
Nearly 9,000 motorists are still driving despite having the maximum 12 penalty points on their licences, new figures show today.
Motorists who build up 12 points or more within a three-year period are liable to be disqualified from driving under the ‘totting-up’ system.
However, courts can use their discretion as to whether a driver is banned.
The findings have alarmed insurers and road safety groups.
Blackpool, Oldham and Manchester have the highest proportion of drivers with 12 points or more, the statistics show.
Now I think that the judges using their discretion in this case is probably right, 12 points on a license to me doesn’t make you a dangerous driver. careless over speed, using a mobile, jumping lights perhaps or just plain unlucky. Certainly some of the 12 pointers will be dangerous, however some will be professional drivers who do a lot more than the yearly average for the UK and who need their licenses to make a living and to lose your job over what the judge may view as a lapse of concentration seems a cruel and unusual punishment. The massive prevalence of cash cows safety speed cameras does not help either as they don’t encourage driving to the conditions, simply being set on the road limit during the most busy of times. What might be acceptable during rush hour or the school run might just be completely ott at midnight when there’s no-one else around and no other traffic either.
What judges appear to be doing is identifying those who are a danger, from those who aren’t, I’m not saying they’re getting it right every time, but at least somewhere there’s a human in the system, the government still have their eyes on fitting a black box linked to a gps system to monitor speeds and distances for tolls and have had proposed automatic fines and penalties to be taken directly from your account. People could end up being banned without knowing they’ve even been fined.
Perhaps we should go in the opposite direction though and only permit points when it’s a human doing the recording, sure have cash cows safety speed cameras, but they only permit a fine, not a penalty (within limits) and only those who are caught doing something truly dangerous get banned, not those who have a lapse of concentration when going through roadworks at night.
Perhaps if the powers that be treated us as adults I might have fewer qualms about safety groups and insurers, but to my mind both appear to be looking at the wrong target, points do not give any reasonable indication as to how good or bad a driver is.