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UK licence points system a fail?

2013-04-25 10:44

POINTLESS SYSTEM?: The UK's points system is supposed to help drivers maintain good habits on the road, but the system seems to be failing since offenders are still on the road with the maximum demerit points. Image: Quickpic

LONDON, England - The UK is supposed to be the world leader in the licence demerit points system yet can’t get it right. It’s little wonder, then, that South Africa has been trying to implement a system for the past three years and it still hasn’t gotten off the ground - much like a penguin trying to fly.

In South Africa the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act was enacted by parliament 15 years ago in 1998. The new laws were implemented in the in the Pretoria (Tshwane Metropolitan Police) and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police areas in 2008 but did not include demerits.

OH-OH AARTO?

Three years later and the trial period is still in testing when it was supposed to have been rolled out to other jurisdictions during 2011 but nothing has really come of it. Only when the system is implemented throughout the will demerits come into play.

Who knows when this will kick off in SA when the world leader in the point system can’t even get it right in the UK?

NO ACTION

According to Britain's Institute of Advanced Motorists more than 8000 drivers who should have been points-banned are still driving. They have 12 or more demerits and, as it happens, those with the most are men.

The official upper limit for licence points, according to the UK's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), is 12; six for those who have held a licence for three years or less.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Law-abiding drivers will be shocked that so many drivers are on the road with more than 12 points. The ‘totting up’ principle is supposed to give a simple 'four strikes and you're out message',” he said. "Anything more should mean instant disqualification.

“There must be tighter practice in courts and at the DVLA to take these people off the road or ensure they undergo driver re-training to break their bad driving habits."

STRICT LAWS

The UK has 20.5-million male and 16.8-million female licensed drivers but it’s the men who disobey the laws of the road. One holds the most points (36). According to a survey by the IAM, of the top 99 'pointers' only 14 are women. There are 2256 max demerits men still driving with more than 12 points but only 351 women.

Foxy Lady Drivers’ Club MD Steph Savill said: "For most drivers collecting points is expensive, embarrassing and potentially highly stressful but they make us more vigilant drivers.

"The relative few who collect 12 points in a fairly short time must be either ignorant or contemptuous of the rules of the road. They are getting away with it because the courts seem unwilling to play the disqualification card."
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