Exclusive research carried out by Caddick Davies solicitors has found that a motoring ‘postcode lottery’ could exist in England and Wales when it comes to being handed penalty points on your licence.
The motor defence experts, based in Merseyside, used the Freedom of Information act to contact every police force in England and Wales after they discovered that drivers were being offered different punishments for motoring offences depending on which part of the country that they were caught, and their findings were interesting to say the least.
The confusion arises due to the fact that some forces are willing to offer drivers the chance to attend rehabilitation courses as an alternative to receiving penalty points on their licence, whereas some are not so keen.
For example, some drivers caught speeding in Essex could be offered a place on a speed awareness course, but those found guilty of a similar offence in Gloucestershire are not given the similar opportunity and are more likely to find themselves in court.
The figures show that committing an offence like speeding or not wearing a seatbelt is most likely to result in a points penalty in West Yorkshire, where the take-up of driver awareness courses is just over 15%.
Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire are the next worst places to be caught, with less than 25% of drivers being offered or completing an awareness course.
In contrast, those caught in Merseyside are most likely to take-up a place on an awareness course with 78.82% of drivers taking the option – the highest out of any force in England and Wales.
The availability of driver awareness courses is also highlighted in this research, with some forces, such as Humberside and Norfolk offering up to seven different types of course, ranging from speed awareness to and seatbelt courses to driver behaviour and specialist motorcycle classes.
That’s compared to Wiltshire, which only offers the national driver alertness course, or Devon and Cornwall and Cleveland forces, which only offer two options – the national driver alertness course and speed awareness programme.
When caught committing a driving offence, police forces sometimes offer motorists the option of attending a Driver Awareness Course as an alternative to formal prosecution through the courts.
The courses are offered nationwide and many are part of the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS). But such is the complexity of traffic offences there are many different courses covering a wide range of misdemeanours.
However, not all forces offer the same courses and there is even some inconsistency across the board when it comes to the options motorists are presented with if they have committed an offence.
This interactive map, which was created following a Freedom of information Request and much extensive research, provides a comprehensive look at each police force in England and Wales and the different Driver Awareness Courses they offer motorists as an alternative to prosecution.
It provides a comprehensive look at each police force across England and Wales and allows you to see just what courses are (or aren’t) on offer to an offending driver. We think you’ll be surprised at the inconsistencies. [via]