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Swapping penalty points?

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Up to 300,000 drivers may have persuaded others to take their penalty points for speeding. Drivers who look for someone else to take the blame and the penalty points for a speeding offence face a one in eight chance that they will be reported to the police, new AA research reveals. Manual and service workers show significantly more scruple in not perverting the course of justice than professionals.

An AA/Populus poll of 16,961 AA members found that 12% of them would not only refuse to say they were driving at the time of the offence but report the point-swapping attempt to the police.

Overall, only 1% would agree to take the blame and the points for a driving offence. Another 82% would refuse point blank but keep quiet about it.

The survey found that 2% of AA members have had someone seriously suggest they take another driver’s points, although 13% say someone they know reasonably well has been involved in points swapping, either as the offending driver or the one taking the blame.

The size of the points-swapping problem is best indicated by the 1% who have persuaded another driver to take the blame and the points for a motoring offence. That is equivalent to around 300,000 drivers among the 31 million UK driving licence holders. Just under half (49%) of AA members claim not to have received a notice of intended prosecution in the last ten years.

Regional differences show that nearly one in six drivers in Northern Ireland would report a request to take someone else’s points, compared to around one in 10 in the North East, London and Wales.

Commenting, Edmund King, AA President, said: “Our AA/Populus poll suggests that the equivalent of 300,000 drivers have admitted that they have persuaded other drivers to take their penalty points. The poll also indicates that one in eight drivers might report someone to the police if they were asked to take their points. The AA suspects these drivers may be “passing off” penalty points to avoid getting banned or to avoid getting higher insurance premiums.

“Some drivers don’t seem to realise the serious nature of this offence. Often drivers will be charged with perverting the course of justice which typically results in a 4 – 9 month prison sentence or a large fine. The best advice is to stick to speed limits to avoid detection in the first place.”

AA Penalty Points Fact File:

  • New drivers are disqualified if they get 6 penalty points within 2 years of passing their test.
  • Other drivers are usually disqualified with 12 penalty points.
  • It is more difficult to pass off penalty points if caught on a forward facing camera where the driver can be indentified.
  • A nurse was jailed for 6 months after trying to blame her former sister-in-law who lives in the USA for speeding after a DVLA investigation.
  • In 2003 an army Captain who said that his car had been exported was convicted after a trial and was given a 3 month prison sentence.
  • In 2005 a 60 year old from Bradford was jailed for 4 months after claiming a French friend was responsible for an offence committed by his daughter. Police found that the Frenchman had been at home with a kidney infection at the time of the offence.
  • It is rumoured that students in some metropolitan areas have been “buying” penalty points for £150.
  • Christine and Neil Hamilton avoided a speeding fine in 2003 by claiming that they didn’t know who was driving. Similar cases involved Manchester United Football Club and Hampshire police.

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