Northern Ireland

Penalty points: Drivers with 12 or more points not disqualified

DRIVING LICENCE Image copyright PA
Image caption By law a driver who accumulates 12 or more penalty points within a three-year period must be disqualified

There are 124 drivers in Northern Ireland that have 12 or more points on their licence and have not been disqualified.

Figures obtained by The Nolan Show reveal at least one driver accumulated 20 points without losing their licence.

By law, a driver who accumulates 12 or more penalty points within a three-year period must be disqualified.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVA) said a disqualification can "only be ordered by the court".

The PSNI also said that disqualifying motorists from driving is a matter for the courts.

'Mitigating circumstances'

While a court is required to disqualify drivers with 12 or more points the DVA said "if a court is satisfied that there are grounds for mitigating the normal consequences of a conviction, the court may decide not to order such disqualification".

Under Article 40 of the Road Traffic Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 a court does not have to reveal the reasons why some drivers with the maximum points on their licence are not disqualified.

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Media captionNick Freeman, a lawyer, explains how 12 penalty points might not mean a ban

Insp Rosie Leech said: "It worth noting that the majority of motorists who receive 12 penalty points or more are disqualified from driving. Any number of points on your licence can affect the amount you have to pay for vehicle insurance.

"No one should take a chance with their safety on the roads".

Nick Freeman, a specialist traffic defence lawyer, told the Nolan Show cases involving "exceptional hardship" meant the court has discretion.

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