How can bad drivers exploit a legal loophole to keep on the road?
We are a nation of motorists, a tribe so wedded to the idea of car ownership that we see getting behind the wheel as a human right.
Car ownership is sky-high with a private vehicle for every two people in the UK, meaning that our roads are as congested as they ever have been while the spectre of air pollution remains a real health risk to both this and future generations.
Despite high profile and costly infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and HS2, the state of public transport in this country means that we are a laughing stock in the eyes of much of the rest of the world. As long as train fares remain pricier than the respective plane journey and as long our unions and rail bosses remain at loggerheads, then the automobile will remain king for many years to come.
As a result of this, it appears that many motorists arrogantly believe that they are above the law. To the untrained eye, there seems to be more idiots on our roads than ever have been before and although the number of fatalities is at an all-time low, this surely have much to do with the fact that many our cars are now built like mini tanks.
But before you dismiss this as the ramblings of a clearly disgruntled motorists, a man who has been cut up more times than Sutton United’s, now former, reserve goalkeeper has had hot dinners, consider for one minute the shocking findings of a recent BBC investigation.
Using one of the great journalistic tools of the past 20 years, the Freedom of Information Act, reporters discovered there are a staggering 10,000 motorists on our roads who have more than 12 points on their licence.
In one case, a particularly anti-social motorist from West Yorkshire had amassed a breathtakingly unbelievable 62 points in three years yet is still allowed to drive among the rest of us.
Once most motorists reach the 12-point landmark then they have to relinquish their driver’s licence and stay off the road for at least six months.
The ban can only be avoided if the motorist in question can prove that it will bring exceptional hardship. Those in charge of British magistrates, who are largely responsible for punishing driving offences say that the process of deciding whether someone would face such hardship should they lose their licence is a robust one and the concept of hardship must be proved to an 'exceptional level'.
The threat of a motorist losing a job won’t necessarily sway a magistrate, but if it means that a family may lose their home as a consequence of ban then that may just pull at the heartstrings of the civic minded souls on the bench. But to accumulate 62 points and retain the privilege of a licence then the motorist in question must have an entire orphanage hanging on their ability to stay on the roads.
At what point does the hardship of one family stop being more important than the safety of others? As someone who recently received his first ever speeding ticket after nearly 20 years behind the wheel, I know what a shock to the system it can be.
For someone to continue flouting the law on so many occasions,they must be extremely confident that their argument will hold each and every time.
The only way to stop bad driving is close this loophole now and bring the most arrogant drivers down a peg or two.