Drivers can receive penalty points for a variety of different offences, but according to new research, speeding is the offence that leads to the most points being added to driving licenses in the UK.
The survey, by RAC Insurance, found that while 52% of those questioned said they hadn’t had any points on their license for over 21 years, of those that did 90% said they were acquired as a result of speeding.
RAC Insurance says that this is no doubt due in part to the use of speed cameras, particularly since traffic police numbers have fallen. Government statistics for 2015 show that in England and Wales alone there has been a 27% drop in in the number of full-time road policing officers since 2010 - from 5,338 to 3,901.
Speeding in 20mph Areas
Speeding in built-up areas appears to be a particular problem, as a survey by road safety charity Brake and Churchill Insurance found that 52% of drivers questioned admitted to speeding in 20mph areas.
The survey also revealed that that nearly three-quarters (73%) of 25-34 year olds are likely to drive at 25mph or more in a 20mph area, whereas fewer than half (45%) of 55-64 year olds say they would do so. Men (61%) admit to driving at those speeds more than women (43%). The 25-34 age bracket of drivers gave the highest results in terms of thinking that traffic travels too fast in their community too (83%).
Drivers Misleading Insurers
RAC Insurance found evidence that some drivers are not being completely honest about the penalty points they receive, with around 23% of those questioned admitting they did not inform their insurer the last time points were added to their license. In addition, 18% said they would not inform their insurer if they were to receive penalty points in the future.
“It is the duty of every driver to inform their insurer of any circumstance that might affect the contract they have with them, both during the insurance term and at renewal,” explained RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey. “This includes making sure every piece of information they provide when completing an insurance application is correct.”
“Not declaring penalty points is a serious matter as it puts drivers at risk of holding invalid insurance as well as potentially incurring substantial penalties from the police, or even a prosecution,” he added. “The onus is always on the person taking out an insurance policy to make any incident known that could influence an underwriter in calculating a premium, even if they are not requested to provide such information. This could be a previous claim, a criminal or motoring conviction.”
The RAC Insurance research also found that 10% of those surveyed claimed to know of someone who had incurred penalty points themselves and then got their partner to take them instead – an offence which was highlighted in the national media in 2013 when former Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne was jailed for perverting the course of justice as a result of getting his ex-wife Vicky Pryce to take his penalty points that would have caused him to be banned from driving.
If you have been charged with a road traffic offence, including speeding, then contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today.