Figures reveal penalty points are a postcode lottery

Being handed penalty points on your licence is a postcode lottery with police forces taking an “ad-hoc approach” to motoring offences across England and Wales, according to exclusive figures.

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Auto Express can reveal where you’re most likely to be handed points and where forces are more likely to offer you a second chance at a driver awareness course rather than face your day in court. 

The figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request by solicitors Caddick Davies, show that committing an offence such as speeding or not wearing a seatbelt is most likely to result in points in West Yorkshire, where the take-up for a driver awareness course is just 15.28 per cent.

Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire are the next worst places to be caught, with less than a quarter of drivers being offered and completing a driver awareness course.

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In contrast, the take-up rate in Merseyside is 78.82 per cent – the highest out of any police force in England and Wales – and subsequently where penalty points are least likely.

The results of the research also show the difference in availability of courses. Some forces, such as Humberside or Norfolk, have seven different types ranging from speed awareness and seatbelt courses to driver behaviour and motorcycle-only offerings.

That’s compared to Wiltshire, which just offers the national driver alertness course, or Devon and Cornwall and Cleveland forces, which only have the national driver alertness and speed awareness programme on offer.

Neil Davies, who compiled the figures with Caddick Davies colleague Dan Wardle, claims it’s a struggle knowing what advice to give clients due to the vast differences. He said: “It is clear that an ad-hoc approach has been taken to what driver re-training courses are offered by different police forces. For the motorist it means that you may be treated differently dependent upon where you commit an offence. 

“We would like to see greater consistency and uniformity of the courses offered so motorists are treated equally irrespective of where an offence is committed.”

Areas where you’re least likely to get an awareness course:

Force Take-up
West Yorkshire 15.28%
Cambridgeshire 21.93%
Nottinghamshire 24.08%
City of London 25.91%
Gloucestershire 32.78%

Areas where you’re most likely to get an awareness course:

Force Take-up
Merseyside 78.82%
Norfolk 66.04%
Essex 61.00%
Northamptonshire 54.00%
Suffolk 51.00%

What do you think of this penalty points postcode lottery? Let us know in the comments below…

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