Press release: Motorway research reveals Bristol drivers have racked up the most penalty points on their licences

  • 21st February 2019
  • By Alex Buttle

More than 2.5 million UK motorists have at least three points on their driving licenses

  • 6.8% of Bristol population have at least three penalty points on their driving licence
  • More than 5,500 drivers in BS16 postcode have incurred at least three penalty points
  • Currently, just over 11,000 UK drivers have at least 12 penalty points (automatic ban) on their license
  • Almost 80,000 drivers currently have nine penalty points on their licenses, and are only one more offence away from an automatic ban

Bristol officially has the worst drivers in England and Wales, with 6.8% of the population having at least three penalty points on their current driving licences, according to research by car selling comparison website Motorway.co.uk.

More than 60,000 drivers, registered in the BS postcode area, which is made up of 47 postcode districts covering Bristol and surrounding areas, still have points on their licence having committed at least one recent motoring offence. Over 14,279  are multiple offenders, with at least six points on their licences.

bristol points on licences
Driving too briskly in Bristol? The city with the most penalty points on driving licences

These figures are supported by speed camera data obtained from local police forces, which shows that the two most active speed cameras in the UK, are on the M32 to Bristol and between Bristol Junction 19 and 20 on the M4. While, twice as many drivers were caught speeding in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, which covers the Bristol area, than in any other constabulary, between June 2016 and May 2018*.

The SL postcode area, which covers Slough and surrounding areas, has the next highest number of car drivers with at least three penalty points on their licence as a percentage of population, with 6.4%. Slough is close to the M4 which is used frequently by commuters to and from London.

Across the UK, almost 2.7 million drivers currently have at least three points on their licences, and 11,090 have at least 12 points and are likely serving an automatic ban. Almost 80,000 drivers have nine penalty points on their licenses, which means 79,463 drivers are one more motoring offence away from receiving an automatic ban.

Motorway.co.uk obtained the most up-to-date data on penalty points by postcode across England & Wales from the Driving Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made in February 2019. The courts endorse your driving licence with penalty points if you’re convicted of a motoring offence. Drivers are disqualified if there are 12 or more points on their driving license.

The following table shows postcode areas ranked in order of highest number of drivers who have at least three penalty points on their driving licence as a percentage of population.

PostcodesTown/CityPopulationNo. of drivers with at least 3 points on licenceNo. of drivers with at least 3 points on licence as % of population
BSBristol940,24163,7476.78%
SLSlough373,60724,0176.43%
HXHalifax160,37810,2096.37%
HGHarrogate138,3438,7096.30%
HDHuddersfield262,81416,2946.20%
TATaunton322,19719,7206.12%
BHBournemouth551,987337656.12%
LULuton335,95020,3606.06%
HPHemel Hempstead488,35129,1265.96%
WRWorcester287,41416,9885.91%
NNNorthampton653,21538,3305.87%
BDBradford57833633,4875.79%
DNDoncaster755,71343,7185.79%
BABath434,16624,3095.60%
WFWakefield512,65728,6135.58%
WDWatford255,98814,1775.54%
DTDorchester213,20311,5775.43%
CMChelmsford653,49235,0265.36%
YOYork562,43930,0825.35%
SSSouthend-on-Sea518,67727,6605.33%

Postcode districts

The most prolific postcode district for penalty points is Bristol postcode BS16. Over 5,000 drivers in BS16 currently have at least three points on their licences, more than any other postcode district in England and Wales.

The following table shows postcode districts ranked in order of highest number of drivers who have at least three penalty points on their current driving licences.

PostcodeTown/CityNumber of drivers with 3 points on licenceNumber of drivers with 9 points on licenceTotal number of drivers with at least 3 points on their license
BS16Bristol4,1242205,530
CR0Croydon2,9451434,688
NN3Northampton3,2451444,454
SL6Maidenhead3,4311104,452
LE2Leicester3,0391424,227
LE3Leicester2,8801564,146
NG5Nottingham2,8941543,966
BH23Christchurch3,117913,922
LU7Leighton Buzzard2,8661283,809
NG16Nottingham2,9351133,803
SL1Slough2,5621413,799
BA2Bath2,827713,506
PR2Preston2,5561253,502
SL3Slough2,4151293,437
CF14Cardiff2,600863,390
BS4Bristol2,5041303,367
NG8Nottingham2,3861113,333
PR4Preston2,5381043,315
GL2Gloucester2,5231023,298
CV6Coventry2,1781053,286

Alex Buttle, director of car buying comparison website Motorway.co.uk comments:

“Almost two million people currently have at least three points on their driving licence. That’s not just a staggering number of people who have committed a motoring offence, it’s also a nice little cash generator for the Government in the form of fines. A large number of these fines will have been incurred for speeding, and in particular speeding on motorways.

“But while the stats suggest otherwise, are Bristol and Slough drivers really more dangerous than drivers from elsewhere? Rather than being ‘boy racer’ districts, one has to ask if the prevalence of a high number of main roads and speed cameras in these areas is a main contributing factor to the higher number of offences seen.

“It was perhaps not surprising to see most Greater London areas at the very bottom of the list for motoring offences as anyone who has spent time on main roads in the capital will understand the opportunity to break the speed limit is minimal with most main roads highly congested during peak hours.”