Lincolnshire PCC calls for end to ‘hardship’ loophole on driving bans

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner wants to see the end of a legal loophole that lets some motorists with more than 12 points on their licence back on the road after appearing in court.

People convicted of motoring offences can, in some circumstances, claim “exceptional hardship” if they lost their licence – such as impacting their working life or if they are a carer that needs their car for shopping.

However, Mr Jones said this was leading to “thousands” of dangerous drivers being let back on the road.

Speaking at a meeting of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel on Friday, he said: “I think it’s totally inequitable that some people in this room might lose their licence if they were at 12 points and others would not, I’m just fundamentally opposed to that system.”

In his role as the chairman of the Association Of Police and Crime Commissioners, Mr Jones is calling for the “anomalous” policy to be scrapped all together or majorly overhauled.

He is also asking for data on the loophole to be collated because “there is none” currently, though he reported that there were two drivers in England still on the roads with 68 points on their licence.

“I was giving a briefing to the House of Lords earlier this week, and there was some really compelling evidence from a parent who had lost their 23 year old child, because somebody that had plead exceptional hardship kept their licence and then gone on to kill,” he told Local Democracy Reporters after the meeting.

“Quite simply, I don’t accept that it’s a right to drive, it’s a privilege to drive and if you can’t follow the same rules that the rest of us have to follow, you shouldn’t be on the road.”

He acknowledged there were genuine “extreme circumstances,” but said it was just being applied too liberally.

It comes as Mr Jones helped launch a new Roads Policing Unit in a bid to crack down on dangerous driving in all forms.

“What I’m looking to do is save lives of our residents on our roads.

“Around 50 people suddenly lose loved ones on our roads in Lincolnshire every year, around 2,000 people nationally – for seriously injured, it’s obviously significantly more.

“Each one of those is a huge tragedy and loss to that family and their friends.

“Equally from an economic point of view, how often do we curse the fact that roads have been closed? The fact that literally millions of pounds go into managing all of the processes around fatal collisions on our roads is a huge drain on our resources.

“So for moral reasons and economic reasons, we need to do more to sort this out.”

His comments come as Lincolnshire Police officers and staff are taking part in a week of enforcement action to support a national road safety campaign focused on reducing deaths and serious injury.

This week, targeted police enforcement will be taking place around the county to tackle speeding as well as the other ‘Fatal Four’ offences – using a mobile phone, not wearing seatbelts and driving while under the influence of drink and drugs – in a bid to keep our counties roads safer for all.

Reducing the number of those killed or seriously injured on our roads remains a year-round priority for the force. Alongside this, officers and partner agencies are also pledging their support for Project EDWARD (Every Day Without A Road Death).

The government-backed initiative was established in 2016 and aims to help reduce death and serious injuries on the road. This year’s Project EDWARD is centred around the theme Fit for the Road.