More than 120 drivers remain behind the wheel in Staffordshire despite having 12 or more penalty points on their licence, new figures show.
Normally, motorists face a ban if they clock up a dozen points within three years, but magistrates can waive that enforcement in special circumstances.
A total of 123 drivers remain on the county’s roads despite having passed that threshold. One driver from Lichfield has been given 24 penalty points – twice the number that usually warrants a ban – but is still on the roads.
In Cannock there are 23 drivers whose licences magistrates could have revoked but haven’t.
In the Stafford borough the total is 94 and in Lichfield it is six.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) obtained the figures from the Government’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) using a Freedom of Information request.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM, said: “Staffordshire drivers need to have confidence that the penalty points system is working fairly and efficiently.
“A combination of poor information sharing and magistrates who like to see the defendant in front of them when they issue a ban means that many drivers are being allowed to rack up large numbers of points but still keeping their licence. This undermines the whole 12 point system.”
Magistrates can sometimes choose not to revoke a person’s licence if the offender pleads ‘extreme hardship’ such that they might lose their job if they cannot drive.
A new national computer system will be introduced next month in order to improve information sharing between the courts and the DVLA.
The Libra system will also mean that if an offender pleads special circumstances, the defence given will be logged so that magistrates will be aware of it if he or she returns to court on a similar charge and tries to use the same excuse to avoid a ban.
DVLA spokesman David Whitbread said: “We already have systems in place to share information with the courts and we will continue to work with them to enhance that.”