More than 10,000 motorists are allowed on the roads despite having 12 or more penalty points on their licence.
Analysis by BBC News shows motorists in the north of England had the most licences with a dozen or more points. Road safety charities said allowing people with lots of points to stay on the road made a mockery of the system. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency said the figure included people who had served a ban and had successfully reapplied for their licence.
The data, covering Great Britain as of the end of June 2017, also showed:
- The category with the greatest rate of offending was men aged between 25 and 34.
- Men were more likely to have clocked up penalty points. About 33 out of every 100,000 male drivers have 12 or more points, compared with under 8 per 100,000 female drivers.
- The most points on a valid licence belong to a 44-year-old woman in the OX12 postcode area. The licence has 51 penalty points.
- Almost 100 motorists were still allowed to drive despite having at least 24 points on their licences, twice the number that results in a ban if accrued within three years.
Penalty points and the law
Drivers are usually banned if they get 12 penalty points within three years.
Bans are six months for 12 or more penalty points accrued within three years. Further bans of 12 months for a second offence and two years for a third offence are also imposed. The points stay on licences, including after bans have been served, for up to four years from the offence.
Most points remain valid for three years from conviction, but stay on licences for four years, which is why so many drivers have a high number of points but are allowed to be on the roads.
The number of points put on a licence varies depending on the offence.
Exceeding the speed limit can lead to three to six points as can using a mobile phone at the wheel.
Someone who drives above the legal alcohol limit would get 10 points.
Up to 11 points can be put on a licence for drug driving and these stay on licences for up to 11 years.
Read more on our dedicated Speeding Solicitor website.