The routine electronic driver licence check in 2018 may reveal fewer problems by way of penalty points and fines. Why? Because drivers appear to be doing a better job of avoiding them, based on recent data from the DVLA. The data shows a 27% decrease in the number of penalty points issued in 2017 as compared to the previous year.
News outlets are reporting that authorities issued a combined 929,000 penalty points last year as compared to 1.27 million in 2016. Along with fewer penalty points has been a commensurate decline in the total value of fines assessed.
This is all very good news, and so it's natural to wonder what has led to such steep drops in both penalty points and fines. Experts say it could be a combination of numerous things. At the top of the list is stiffer penalties for violations. The Home Office suggests that the potential for being punished twice – by receiving both penalty points and a fine – for some of the worst offences is key.
According to the Home Office, drivers in England and Wales are more likely to be on the receiving end of double punishment for serious offences like using a mobile phone while driving. Their data reveals that for the five years from 2011 to 2016, the number of drivers receiving both fines and points increased from 1.85 million to 2.24 million, representing an increase of 21%. At the same time, the number of people receiving only fines fell from 424,000 to 128,000 during the same period.
Fewer Points Means Safer Drivers
Penalty points on a driving licence indicate a driver has done something both illegal and unsafe. Based on that understanding, it's reasonable to say that a drop in the number of points being issued indicates drivers are making a concerted effort to be safer on the roads. Hopefully that's the case. If it's not, the only other explanation for the decrease in points and fines is that enforcement efforts are declining. None of us wants that.
If the routine driver licence check is part of how you do business, you can take comfort in the fact that future checks should reveal fewer problems than in the past. It would appear as though UK drivers are beginning to get the message about being safer and more responsible.
This Is Money – http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-5474427/Penalty-points-brandished-drivers-FELL-quarter-2017.html