Is 12 Point Loophole About To Be Closed?

Fri 13th Mar 2020

Drivers in the UK who claim ‘exceptional hardship’ to avoid a driving ban could be facing losing their jobs in the future if the legal loophole is closed.

Those who accumulate 12 or more points on their licence in any three year period would face disqualification from driving for a minimum six month period. However, a legal loophole is currently being exploited which claims many who drive as a part of their job could claim ‘exceptional hardship’. However a consultation from the organisation which monitors court sentences, the Sentencing Council, is hoping to make changes to the law, pointing out that all banned drivers are likely to suffer ‘hardship’.

Most recent DVLA figures suggest that there could be as many as 10,000 drivers in Britain exploiting the loophole, driving with 12 or more points on their licence. The Sentencing Council wants courts to explore all alternatives, including other means of transport, before considering reversing the ban.

Road safety charity Brake has long campaigned against the ‘exceptional hardship’ loophole, pointing out that repeat offenders appear to have a complete disregard for the law.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Far too often drivers who have been caught repeatedly breaking the law are let off a deserved ban by using the excuse of ‘exceptional hardship’, often for pitifully inadequate reasons. These are dangerous repeat offenders who have been granted ample opportunity to change their driving behaviour yet continue to put lives at risk through their complete disregard for the law. If drivers who rack up 12 points aren’t banned, it undermines, and makes a mockery of, the entire system.

“The proposals from the Sentencing Council are a positive step towards closing the ‘exceptional hardship’ loophole and our research shows that the vast majority of drivers support such a move. Driving is a privilege, not a right; and if that privilege is not exercised responsibly, it should be taken away, no matter how inconvenient.”