This driving loophole means road users can drive with over 60 penalty points

The legal issue means 10,000 drivers across the UK have remained on the road despite securing more than 12 points on their licence. One motorist has even been found with 66 points on their driving licence while the next highest offenders have 60 points.


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The loophole allows magistrate lawyers to allow offenders to stay on the roads if they believe it would cause “exceptional hardship” to revoke their licence.

The exceptional hardship clause may apply if offenders are forced to care for a sick relative or if an offender is responsible for driving someone around.

This is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and is down to the magistrate’s sole discretion whether the loophole is implemented.

John Bache, spokesperson for the Magistrates Association said the system was robust to scrutinise cases before a final decision is made.

He said: “The process for establishing exceptional hardship is robust and magistrates scrutinise each case very carefully.”

However, road safety campaigners have called upon the government to review the loophole as a matter of urgency.

A spokesman for road safety charity Brake said: “If drivers who rack up 12 points aren’t banned, it makes a mockery of the system.”

A recent survey by Brake found the vast majority of road users wished to see a ban for those caught breaking the law. 

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The study found 75 percent of respondents said it would not be fair to let offenders who have picked up 12 points off paying the ban.

The Sentencing Council has warned courts to be cautious before accepting an exceptional hardship plea.

They say some evidence should be shown that using alternative means of transport would not be viable for a plea to be considered.

IAM RoadSmart has called for closer working between the courts and the DVLA to hunt down those that continue to use the same excuse.


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A joint team told analysts where the exceptional hardship excuse has been used as a reason before and then crackdown on those who use the same excuse twice.

Driving points can often stay on a licence for up to 11 years depending on the severity of the offence.

This means road users can continue to add points to their policy over several months and years without committing any major offences.

The RAC confirms road uses who receive 12 or more points over three years will usually receive a driving ban.

However, experts said there were certain ways that drivers could avoid the ban with exceptional hardship one of the popular reasons.

A high number of penalty points on a licence is likely to affect other motoring services for road users in what could be a major blow.

Motorists must declare their driving convictions and points when signing or a car insurance policy with high points scores looked at unfavourably.

This is because a higher number of points increases your overall perceived road risk which could lead insurers refusing to provide cover.

This could force road users to purchase specialist policies which are often more expensive than standard agreements. 

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