PLEADING in court that you need to keep your licence or lose your job may not wash in future.
Drivers who rack up 12 or more penalty points should no longer be able to use exceptional hardship as a loophole to get out of a ban says the Sentencing Council
It has put forward proposals under which magistrates’ courts would be expected to be cautious before accepting assertions of exceptional hardship without evidence that alternative means of transport are not viable.
Getting 12 or more points on your licence within a three-year period usually leads to a driving ban of at least six-months.
However, people who drive ion business have been able to avoid disqualification if they successfully claim that a ban would cause exceptional hardship.
According to figures from the DVLA obtained by the driving safety organisation Brake, there are more than 10,000 drivers on UK roads allowed to continue driving despite having 12 or more penalty points.
The Sentencing Council said the loss of employment should not necessarily amount to exceptional hardship, adding that whether or not it does will depend on the circumstances of the offender and the consequences of that loss of employment on the offender and/or others.
Brake has been calling for the removal of the exceptional hardship claim for some time looking to stop what it calls “derisory claims of exceptional hardship” and to ensure that repeat offenders are disqualified from driving.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Far too often drivers who have been caught repeatedly breaking the law are let off a deserved ban by using the excuse of ‘exceptional hardship’, often for pitifully inadequate reasons.
“These are dangerous repeat offenders who have been granted ample opportunity to change their driving behaviour yet continue to put lives at risk through their complete disregard for the law.
“If drivers who rack up 12 points aren’t banned, it undermines, and makes a mockery of, the entire system.”
The Corporate Homicide Act 2007 means that the employer is responsible for ensuring safety on the road and this includes checking all drivers are licenced.