390 still driving after clocking up 12 points
ALMOST 400 motorists in the region who have clocked up 12 penalty points on their licence have been allowed to carry on driving.
Motorists who receive 12 points on their licence face a driving ban unless they can convince courts it will cause them exceptional hardship.
Latest figures from the DVLA show there are 184 drivers in Cheshire who have 12 or more points and are still allowed to drive, while there are 158 in Staffordshire and 48 in Stoke-on-Trent.
Road safety charity Brake and the AA have raised concerns about the number of people escaping bans.
But Paul Biggs, Staffordshire co-ordinator for the Association of British Drivers, believes courts are showing more lenience because of the sheer number of average speed monitors and mobile speed traps.
He said: "If it is a really serious offence people can still expect to be banned, but these days you can amass 12 points in a single day because of the number of cameras.
"A lot of the time people are caught driving safely at an appropriate speed where there is an inappropriate speed limit.
"There's no point in someone losing their job and their home for that."
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis, who lives in Cheshire, escaped a driving ban in March – despite having 15 points on his licence.
The Potters' boss was clocked driving his BMW at 96mph in a 60mph stretch of the M42, but his lawyer argued it would have caused the club and city exceptional hardship if he lost his licence.
Ellen Booth, a senior campaigns officer at road safety charity Brake, said: "It's disgraceful these individuals, who rack up offence after offence, are allowed to continue driving.
"Drivers who repeatedly flout traffic laws have shown complete disregard for the lives of other road users.
"They have had ample opportunity to stop breaking the law before reaching 12 points and facing disqualification.
"It's time for the Government to get tough with these selfish, irresponsible and potentially deadly drivers, and put a stop to their illegal and dangerous driving before it results in a devastating crash."
A ban of around six months is the recommended court response to a motorist totting up 12 or more points.
But magistrates are allowed to be more lenient if the motorist pleads hardship, which can include claiming they will lose their job.
Points are handed out for a range of motoring offences, ranging from two points for minor rule infringements to between three and six points for speeding.
Driving without due care and attention can be punished with between three and nine points.