Not so fast: Over 65s are 25 times more likely than teenagers to have penalty points on their license

by Antony Ingram
9 March 2021 2 min read
Not so fast: Over 65s are 25 times more likely than teenagers to have penalty points on their license
Photo: IAM RoadSmart

Those young drivers, eh? Howling around the place, blasting past cameras like it’s the latest TikTok sensation and accruing penalty points like a YouTube video clocking up Likes. Tut-tut; one day they’ll grow out of it and see the error of their ways.

If that sounds like a familiar gripe, prepare to have stereotypes blown apart. According data provided by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), that driver careering past speed cameras is 25 times more likely to be a pensioner, with more than 304,000 over-65s currently driving around the UK with penalty points on their license, compared to little over 12,000 teenagers.

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Drivers in their 30s still take the dubious prize of holding the most penalty points with more than 575,000 driving around with at least one offence recorded on their license, closely followed by drivers in their 40s (572,238) and their 50s (568,511). And if you’re 49 years old, then you’re one of 63,248 with points.

Not all points are for speeding of course (careless and reckless driving and dangerous mechanical deficiencies can all attract penalties), and the results for teenagers may be slightly skewed in terms of their relative numbers – the over-65s bracket is a lot wider than those under 20. And it doesn’t allow for driving habits, such as how many miles a year each age group covers on average.

As most young drivers will tell you, there are good reasons – aside from being an upstanding, law-obeying citizen – for following the rules of the road. They’re likely to have less disposable income to spend on the inevitable fines and insurance increases that come with points, and those who amass six or more points within two years of passing their driving test have their license revoked. Having to once again sit theory and practical tests and reapply for a license is a punishment (and yet another expense) not handed out to older drivers.

A rather worrying statistic revealed in DVLA data – which was gathered following a Freedom of Information request by the IAM Roadsmart road safety charity – is the number of drivers on the roads with more than 12 points, the number at which a driver is disqualified. There are as many as 8800 people carrying a dozen points. One driver is said to be on the road with 68 points; we can only imagine they’re some kind of Grand Theft Auto character.

It’s this that IAM RoadSmart finds particularly troubling, with Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, saying the charity has been raising the issue with the government for more than a decade. But next time you see a younger driver tear past in their hatchback, just remember that statistically speaking, you probably have more points than they do…

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  • John Reynolds says:

    Statistics eh!!
    Teenagers riding /driving: potentially a 4 year period.
    Other drivers in their 20’s / 30’s / 40’s etc:
    a 10 year period.
    Over 65’s: potentially a 35 year period, although I’ll concede that the more realistic figure would be nearer 20-25 years, Hardly a convincing comparison.

    • Antony Ingram says:

      If you’re fond of statistics John, try multiplying the four-year period of 12,000 teenagers with points by 8.75, to equal the 35 years over-65s potentially have left on the road.

      To save you the wear and tear on your calculator, it’s 105,000, or still only about a third that of the number of over-65s with points…

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