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Close penalty point loophole for learner drivers, say road safety charity

Road safety campaigners, Brake, are calling for a reduction in the number of penalty points a learner driver can hold before being disqualified, as an investigation has found more than 42,000 provisional licence holders on the roads with six or more penalty points.

The data, obtained by Brake under a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA, revealed that, as of April 2019, 66,575 learner drivers held endorsements on their licence. Of these, 42,883 held six or more points, 1,005 held 12 or more points and the highest number of points held by one learner driver was 35.

Under the New Drivers Act, drivers who get six or more penalty points within two years of passing their test have their licence revoked. If they wish to drive again, they are required to apply and pay for a new provisional licence and pass both theory and practical parts of the driving or riding test. Rules for provisional licence holders, however, allow them to hold up to 11 active points on their licence while receiving no penalty, permitting them to take a driving test, obtain a full licence and drive freely on the roads. Once they have passed their test, they would only have their licence revoked if they receive further penalty points.

Statistics from the UK’s Department for Transport show that a learner or inexperienced driver/rider was a contributory factor to the incident in 3% of deaths and 5% of serious injuries on the roads, in 2017.

Road safety charity, Brake, are calling for learner drivers who get six or more points to have to reapply for their licence, and have urged the Government to consult on the viability of imposing bans.

Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said, “How can it be right that learner drivers with a track record of committing multiple driving offences are still free to obtain a full licence and drive on our roads? Newly qualified drivers face losing their licence if they commit multiple driving offences so surely at least the same standards should apply to learner drivers too? We are calling on the Government to look into this with a view to reduce the number of penalty points a learner driver can get before losing their licence and prevent them from taking a driving test with multiple points on their provisional licence.”

Written by Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.

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