80,000 UK drivers are only one speeding ticket away from losing their licence, finds TMC

Posted By: TMC - 16th July 2019

New analysis of UK licensing data also reveals wide regional variations in penalty points carried, highlighting need for firms to check the validity of their business drivers’ licences

Nearly 81,000 drivers in the UK have nine penalty points on their driving licences, putting them just one endorsable offence away from potentially losing their licence.

Altogether, 2.7 million motorists in England, Scotland and Wales currently have three or more points on their licences, finds an analysis of DVLA licensing data.

We have also found marked regional variations in the proportion of drivers receiving licence points.

  • Yorkshire and the Humber is the most-endorsed region in the UK mainland, with points on almost nine per cent of licences.
  • At the other end of the scale, motorists in Greater London proportionately clock up the fewest points, with only 5.3 per cent not holding a clean licence.
  • Drivers in West Yorkshire are more than twice as likely to receive penalty points as those living in Kent.
  • Driving licences held by over 11,000 Britons currently have 12 or more points on them. However, that does not automatically mean the driver is disqualified. They may have served a court sentence for their driving offences and subsequently reapplied for their licence.
  • The highest number of points on a UK driving licence in March 2019 was 60.

Paul Hollick, managing director of TMC, said:
“The chances of a working driver having points on their licence are noticeably higher than suggested by the raw statistics. Business drivers are often out on the road every working day whereas the apparent number of clean licences is boosted by many thousands of people who don’t drive, or live abroad or have died but remain in the data.

“That is why it is imperative for employers to check working drivers’ licences to ensure they are valid and to identify staff at risk of a totting-up ban. Electronic checks by an accredited licence-checking firm take a few seconds and should not cost the employer more than £2.50 per driver per year.  It’s a small price to pay to mitigate the risks.”

The DVLA data we analysed showed that 80,855 UK driving licences had nine points on them in March 2019 – three points away from a totting-up ban if those points were incurred within three years.

Regionally, Halifax and its surrounding district in West Yorkshire was home to the highest proportion of licences carrying penalty points. One licence-holder in 10 there had received points. Of those, one in eight had nine points on their licence.

The cleanest licences on the UK mainland were in the area of Kent around Canterbury, where only one licence holder in every 250 had received points and just 273 out of 317,000 drivers in the area had accumulated nine points.

The 10 proportionally most-endorsed postcode areas (brackets show number of licences with points and percentage of all local licences):

  1. Halifax (10,758 , 10.6%)
  2. Bradford (34,455, 10.5%)
  3. Huddersfield   (16,593, 9.9%)
  4. Bristol  (61,761 , 9.4%)
  5. Doncaster (44,786, 9.3%)
  6. Wakefield (29,403, 9.1%)
  7. Leeds   (41,823, 9.0%)
  8. Luton  (20,137, 8.9%)
  9. Slough (24,734, 8.7%)
  10. Harrogate (8,785, 8.7%)

The 10 proportionally least-endorsed postcode areas:

  1. Brighton (27,991 5.1%)
  2. Harrow (17,074, 5.0%)
  3. Exeter (19,967 4.9%
  4. Greater London (136,693, 4.9%)
  5. Truro (10,508, 4.8%)
  6. Cambridge (13,042, 4.4%)
  7. Bromley (9,688, 4.4%)
  8. Tonbridge (22,100, 4.3%)
  9. Shetland (673, 4.3%)
  10. Canterbury (12,254, 3.9%)

Mainland UK regions by proportion of local licences with points:

  1. Yorkshire and the Humber (8.58%)
  2. North East (7.21%)
  3. Wales (7.19%)
  4. East Midlands (6.94%)
  5. South West (6.92%)
  6. West Midlands (6.91%)
  7. Scotland (6.77%)
  8. North West (6.74%)
  9. East of England (6.65%)
  10. South East (5.85%)
  11. Greater London (5.25%)