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Motorists take on penalty points for friends and family

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Recent research has revealed that one in twenty (6%) of UK drivers would be willing to take the fall for someone else’s penalty points on their driving licence.

The research, conducted by LV= car insurance, found that just under 4 million UK drivers currently hold penalty points, with 82% of those being distributed for speeding.  Motorists who are caught speeding generally receive between 3 and 12 points, but normally those with 12 points on their licence are banned from driving.

According to new research, one in twenty drivers say they would be willing to lie and take on penalty points for a friend or relative.

Of those, 66% say they would take the punishment to ensure their friend was not banned from driving.  Over half (59%) said they would do it so as to protect their friends livelihood, as losing their licence could put their job at risk.

Just over a fifth of those researched (21%) said they would be prepared to take on points for a friend because despite incurring penalty points, their friend is a safe driver.

Out of everyone who has taken points on their own licence for a friend or relative, only 6% said they were paid to do it.  Many believe that taking on someone else’s penalty points is not a serious crime.  4% believe that doing so is not actually a crime, whilst 12% feel that receiving points for speeding is not a fair punishment.

Since 2001, approximately 300,000 drivers have lied and said they were driving their friend or partner’s car when they were caught speeding and taken on the penalty points incurred by the offence.

Taking on penalty points for another driver is against the law, as it is lying to the police, but it will become more difficult to get away with in the future.  Police forces across the UK are trialling and rolling-out a new video speed gun, that are able to capture a vehicles speed whilst capturing the driver on film.  These can then be matched against the driving licence photos held by the DVLA.

However, there are already in the UK a number of speed cameras that photograph the front of the vehicle as well as the driver, and are becoming more and more common on the roads.

When surveyed, 33% of drivers said they were already aware that police forces across Britain are planning to test a new speed gun that will capture footage of the driver. Just over two thirds (67%) of these said it would not change their behaviour but 17% said it would make them less likely to swap penalty points.

The findings come as a high profile case of alleged penalty point swapping is in the media spotlight and the subject of a police investigation into allegations of perverting the course of justice.

By Ben Malkin

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