Motorists who repeatedly offend will face a more serious consequences from courts next year after concerns were raised that magistrates are being “dangerously lenient” in allowing them to stay behind the wheel.
The Sunday Times reports that, in theory, a driver with points on their licence, accrued within a three-year period, should expect an automatic “totting up” ban of a minimum of six months if convicted of a further offence that pushes them to 12 points or above. The penalty rises to a ban of one or two years if it is the second or third disqualification.
But the Sentencing Council, part of the Ministry of Justice, said some courts were failing to consider a motorist’s driving history, which should lead to a longer ban.
The newspaper says that a loophole which means only the latest transgression is taken into account, is set to be closed in April 2023 under amendments which are out for consultation.
It quotes the council as saying: “It has been suggested by some magistrates and legal advisers that courts are too often imposing short discretionary disqualifications (of less than 56 days) where 12 or more points have been imposed. This avoids a longer period of disqualification that would result from totting-up (at least 6 months).” It said there was “confusion” as to which points counted towards a totting up disqualification.
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