Does the system of driving licence penalty points work to keep bad drivers off the road? It depends on who you ask. It also depends on decisions made by the courts. One good example is a recent case in Paisley, a town in Scotland's central lowlands.
The Paisley Sheriff Court heard the case of a local man who carelessly caused a head-on crash that left two people injured and their pet dog dead. The 33-year-old defendant had an average driving record prior to last year's accident, with three penalty points and one fixed notice penalty in the past.
According to the defendant's attorney, he temporarily lost concentration as his car rounded a corner on a carriageway near the St James interchange in Paisley. His car crossed the centre lines into oncoming traffic, slamming into another vehicle headed in the opposite direction. The defence made it clear that the defendant was remorseful about what had happened.
Sheriff Pettigrew ruled the cause of the crash was a momentary lapse in concentration rather than a more serious act of negligence. He fined the defendant £600 and added eight additional points to his licence. He also warned the defendant that he was dangerously close to receiving a driving ban.Assessing Penalty Points
Any disagreement that exists in these types of accident comes down to how penalty points are issued. Much of it has to do with the perceptions of the court as a case is heard. In the Paisley case, the defendant was spared a driving ban because the court accepted his defence of momentary distraction. This does not suggest, however, that the defendant would be a good risk to drive a company car operated by your business.
Penalty points are assessed by courts as a means of warning careless drivers to improve their driving habits while informing those who need to know, such as insurance companies and employers, when a driver does not seem to be responsible behind the wheel. That is where checking driving licences comes in.
In the Paisley case, the defendant is self-employed in food service. Therefore, there is nothing for his company to check in regards to his driving licence. His insurance company is a different matter.
As a company owner or fleet manager, things are different where your employees are concerned. You need to know when one of your workers is on the verge of a driving ban after accruing too many penalty points. Not only is such information essential for the health of your company, it also affects your insurance rates. Perish the thought that a careless driver who should have been removed ends up causing an accident with one of your vehicles.
Fleet Licence Check is here to assist you in carrying out appropriate licence checks for all of your company drivers. We have been in the claims handling service for more than 20 years. As for licence checks, we conduct about 20,000 annually for motoring companies around the UK.
1. Daily Record – http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/horror-crash-driver-stays-road-5046244