Research reveals illegal ‘point swapping’
New research has revealed that millions of motorists have no worries about ‘point swapping’ with family and friends and even work colleagues even though it is illegal. One in twenty drivers have been asked to illegally take points for someone else and a third have actually obliged. A further 34% considered it despite nine out of ten knowing that it was an offence to take someones points.
The overall picture is that motorists feel that it is harmless to take points and didn't want the person to lose their licence. The research was commissioned by law firm Slater & Gordon who specialise in advising people charged with driving offences.
Paul Reddy, lawyer at Slater & Gordon said “people are desperate to keep their license and will often go to extreme measures in a bid to keep it. If you need you car for work or to help with childcare then the idea of being without it can cause people to panic. But the worst thing you can possible do is lie to the police, courts or authorities. You may think you won’t get found out but the penalty for perverting the course of justice or even attempting to is much more severe than a disqualification. A prison sentence would be the most likely sentence”.
Prison it was for MP Chris Hunhe and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce who were both jailed for eight months for illegally swapping points. It was alleged that between 12 March and 21 May 2003, Pryce, a prominent economist, had falsely informed police she had been the driver of the car, so Huhne, who went on to become the MP for Eastleigh, in Hampshire, would avoid prosecution. He was in danger of losing his licence having already accrued nine penalty points. People were most likely to ask their partner to take their points for them and were also more likely to ask their mum to take them over their dad.
It seems key motivators for ‘point swapping’ is the fear of losing a license or insurance premiums increasing. Nearly four out of ten motorists in the UK have been caught speeding in the past and 29% had points on their license as a result of driving offences. You can also be given points for having worn tyres, failing to comply with red lights and using your mobile phone while driving.