RAC Cars News


Learner Drivers Earning Penalty Points

By raccars Published

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It seems driving instructors could do with paying closer attention to their pupils' behaviour, as 20% of motorists with penalty points on their licence earned them before even passing their test. About 60% of these were earned through breaking speed limits.

A Freedom of Information request to the DVLA has revealed nearly 54,000 provisional driving licence holders have already accumulated penalty points. Apart from speeding, running red lights, driving carelessly and driving without insurance were the main offences.

According to research into the problem, about one in three people believes the driving instructor or accompanying driver should take responsibility for the driving of their student, and over 10% feel they should take the points on the learner's behalf, although this is in fact, illegal. A third of people were unaware that penalty points could be applied to a provisional licence and four in ten were unaware that within the first two years of driving, only six penalty points could result in losing their licence.

Overall, about a third of drivers in the UK have at some time been issued with penalty points, 22% of whom confessed receiving points before passing their driving test. Seventeen per cent of those questioned felt that roads would be safer if theory driving tests were made more stringent, to increase awareness of the rules for learners.

There are, allegedly, some 8,000 motorists still driving in the UK having accumulated 12 licence penalty points over three years, the point at which a driving ban can be applied. One West London woman was found to be driving with 42 penalty points on her licence.

In the same week, reports were released showing that not only has the number of learner drivers on the road increased this year for the first time since 2008, but also that the number of motorists being punished for using mobile phones at the wheel has decreased, while the motorway death toll has risen. British motorists believe that the 25% drop in mobile phone convictions is due to a lack of enforcement rather than a decrease in the number of people actually committing the offence.

Meanwhile, research has revealed that while the overall number of casualties on UK roads has fallen, the percentage of those occurring on motorways has increased for the first time in ten years. This is believed to be the result of higher traffic volume and a reduction in policing on motorways.

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