September 23 2014 Latest news:
By JON DEAN
Sunday, September 18, 2011
More than 30 dangerous drivers with enough points to be banned are still legally behind the wheel and are contributing to a “culture of fear” on the streets of Islington.
Road safety campaigners are furious that 32 drivers in the borough have 12 points or more on their licence, but have been allowed to continue driving by the courts.
One driver is still on the roads with a whopping 17 points, according to a Freedom of Information request sent by the Gazette to the DVLA.
Caroline Russell, chair of Islington Living Streets, said: “This is completely shocking. The safety of pedestrians and cyclists is clearly being disregarded by the courts, and that is terrifying. These drivers are contributing to the culture of fear on our streets.”
Normally, an automatic ban is imposed when someone hits 12 penalty points, but the courts can make exemptions in cases where a ban would cause extreme hardship to dependants of the driver.
But for someone to still be driving with 17 points they may have had to persuade the courts to let them off twice.
John Hackers, committee member for Islington Cyclist Action Group, said: “This is absolutely a worry – you don’t want to be cycling along thinking someone behind you has got 12 points. You would probably stop and let them past.
“If the courts want to let someone with 12 points keep driving they should have a regulator fitted to their car so they can’t speed.”
A spokesman for the DVLA said: “The magistrates courts sentencing guidelines produced by the Sentencing Council provide a framework setting out how to establish the seriousness of each case and the most appropriate way of dealing with it. This helps the magistrates courts ensure that any penalty reflects the seriousness of the offence and the personal circumstances of the offender.
“In a small percentage of cases where the driver has accumulated 12 or more penalty points, the agency understands that a court can exercise its discretion and not disqualify the driver. In the majority of these cases, magistrates may have decided to allow drivers to retain their entitlement to drive where it is considered that disqualification would cause exceptional hardship.”
The Gazette submitted the Freedom of Information request to the DVLA on July 24.