Increase in banned drivers caught behind wheel10 February 2017
Thousands of people were caught without a licence last year, according to BBC report
There has been a 7.5 per cent increase in the number of banned drivers caught behind the wheel, according to figures obtained by the BBC.
Data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency suggests 109,660 motorists were banned from driving last year, aged between 12 and 94.
Of them, around 14,500 people were caught driving despite having had their license taken away, as said in a report by BBC Radio 5 live.
Among them was a person who was not only caught driving while banned four times within 12 months, but who was also convicted for failing to stop and driving without insurance three times.
“You can’t have insurance if you’re disqualified. That puts all of us on the roads at serious risk. To hear that more people than ever have no interest in abiding by the law, or in respecting the sentences they have received is extremely worrying, to say the least.”
Driving bans can be issued if a motorist is convicted of a driving offence or if they obtain 12 or more penalty points within three years. The length of the ban is decided by the court and is based on the seriousness of the offence, but could range from six months to two years. Those disqualified for 56 days or longer must apply for a new licence before driving again.
While Britain has one of the best road safety records in the world, deaths and serious injuries continue to devastate victims and their families. According to the Department for Transport, more than 25,000 people were killed or seriously injured on British roads in the year ending September 2016 - a six per cent increase on the previous year.
“Despite having some of the safest roads in Europe, my colleagues and I regularly meet and support victims of road traffic accidents,” said Mr Welsh. “Their lives and those of their families have been changed forever by often reckless driving.”
In 2015, the government increased the maximum custodial sentence for causing death whilst driving when disqualified from two to 10 years. A new offence was also created to punish disqualified drivers who cause serious injury when driving, which held a maximum penalty of four years imprisonment. It also brought into force the statutory requirement to extend a driving ban to take account of any time spent in custody.
“For there to be drivers out there who have been banned several times and who continue to flout the law is a clear sign that the justice system is simply not working,” Mr Welsh added. “There must be tougher penalties for drivers who don’t abide by court-imposed bans.”
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