The drivers in Norwich with 12-plus licence points who escaped a ban - including one with 24

Thirty-six drivers have held onto their licences despite having 12 or more points, figures from July

Thirty-six drivers have held onto their licences despite having 12 or more points, figures from July show. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

More than 30 drivers in Norwich have dodged a ban despite having 12 or more points on their licence - including one who has 24.

Analysis of DVLA data shows that 36 drivers in the Norwich area have held onto their licences despite having the number of points which is usually the threshold to lose it.

Road safety charity Brake has slammed the current system, which it says is allowing 'repeat offenders' to exploit loopholes in the law.

If a driver can convince a magistrate that they, or an innocent party such as a family member, would face 'exceptional hardship' if they lost their licence they may be permitted to keep it.

The latest figures, which record penalty points as of July, show there are almost 11,000 drivers across Great Britain who are still behind the wheel with at least 12 points - including some with as many as 40 or 50.

In Norwich, the highest number of points received by one driver who is still allowed to drive is 24.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, said it is 'hugely concerning' that so many offenders are being allowed to keep driving.

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He said: 'By ignoring the exploitation of the exceptional hardship loophole that allows unsafe drivers to remain on our roads, the Government and courts are complicit in increasing the risk to the public.

'This dangerous loophole must be dealt with as a matter of urgency so that drivers who reach 12 points are automatically disqualified, protecting the general public from harm.

'Driving is a privilege, not a right and if that privilege is not exercised responsibly, it must be taken away.'

Around 25 in every 100,000 local drivers have at least 12 points on their licence, above the national average of 23 per 100,000.

Drivers can pick up three points for minor offences, such as speeding or failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing, while serious offences, such as drink or drug driving, can attract up to 11.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: 'The vast majority of drivers who get 12 penalty points are automatically disqualified.

'The courts have access to DVLA records which are taken into account, but sentencing is rightly a matter for independent judges based on the facts of each case.'