CHRIS Huhne may be a high profile offender when it comes to swapping penalty points for speeding offences, but he certainly isn’t the only one.
An AA survey found that persuading another person to take penalty points for a speeding offence is rife. Up to 300,000 drivers may be guilty and they stand a 1 in 8 chance that, like Mr Huhne, their offence will be reported.
And male drivers are the worst offenders.
Manual and service workers are more likely to report an offence than professionals according to the survey.
16% of skilled manual and service workers would not only refuse to say they were driving at the time of the offence but said they would report the point-swapping attempt to the police.
Some drivers don’t seem to realise the serious nature of this offence. Often drivers will be charged with perverting the course of justice which typically results in a 4 – 9 month prison sentence or a large fine
Among professional and senior manager groups, that drops to 11%.
Among the unskilled, unemployed and those on state pensions, 20% would inform the authorities.
There are also strong regional differences. One in 6 drivers in Northern Ireland would report a request to take someone else’s points but that drops to 1 in 10 in the North East, London and Wales.
Overall, only 1% of respondents said they would go along with the request with the majority, 82%, saying they would refuse point blank, but keep quiet about it.
The survey found that 2% of AA members have had someone seriously suggest they take another driver’s points, although 13% say someone they know reasonably well has been involved in points swapping, either as the offending driver or the one taking the blame.
The size of the points-swapping problem is best indicated by the 1%, mainly male, who have persuaded another driver to take the blame and the points for a motoring offence. That is equivalent to around 300,000 drivers among the 31 million UK driving licence holders. Just under half (49%) of AA members claim not to have received a notice of intended prosecution in the last 10 years.