New figures show some worrying trends on Britain’s roads: thousands of disqualified drivers have been caught at the wheel; the number of drink drivers is on the up; and there’s been a rise in the number of untaxed cars. Official statistics from the Ministry of Justice found 6592 disqualified drivers were stopped for driving in England and Wales in 2015. That’s the equivalent of 18 banned drivers being halted by the police every day.
The report, compiled by Churchill car insurance, also discovered that the average fine for being disqualified from driving was £247. And 44 per cent of drivers were fined £150 or less. That is despite putting other road users in potentially life-threatening situations. The maximum fine for not having a TV licence, meanwhile, is £1000. And the harshest financial penalty for fly tipping is £400.
Steve Barrett, head of car insurance at Churchill, said: “Disqualification from driving isn’t just a punishment for committing a very serious driving offence, or series of offences; it’s in the interests of all road users and their safety. With the average fine for driving while disqualified averaging a mere £247, Churchill believes the penalties should be considerably tougher to serve as real deterrents and ensure the public’s safety.”
Last year, 87 of the 6592 disqualified drivers prosecuted were aged 17 and under. Between 2005 and 2015, 3911 banned drivers who were stopped were 17 or younger. It means these drivers had picked up two driving bans, despite being too young to drive in the first place.
Driving while being disqualified is the fifth most popular way of losing your licence in the UK; drink driving is the reason most drivers lose their licence. Last year the number of drink drive accidents was up by two and a half per cent compared to 2014.
The second most frequent reason drivers lose their licence is by the points totting up process. However, last month we revealed that an increasing number of drivers are keeping their licence despite exceeding the 12-point limit.
There have also been reports of an increase in the number of untaxed cars since the paper tax disc was abolished in late 2014. Between October 2014 and March 2015, £2.7bn was paid in Vehicle Excise duty. In the six months prior to that, 3.2bn was collected.