Postcode lottery for penalty points

The likelihood of drivers being prosecuted for a motoring offence is to some degree dependent on where they live, figures have shown.

The revelation of the "postcode lottery for motoring offences is due to the "massive gulf" between the toughest police forces and those with a more "softly softly" approach, according to statistics from Auto Express Magazine.

In Northamptonshire, a total of 16% of car owners got penalty points on their licences in 2007, compared to 2% who did in Durham.

North of the border in Scotland the figures, which related to 2008/09, showed that in Dumfries and Galloway a total of 21% of owners of cars got penalty points, while in Strathclyde the figure was only 8%.

Cumbria had the unfortunate accolade of having the highest proportion of motorists caught speeding in England in 2007 - at 12%.

Nottinghamshire was home to the highest number of red-light jumpers - at more than 50%. As far as driving without insurance was concerned, the highest number of offenders was in Hertfordshire.

Merseyside topped the tables for the highest number of mobile phone offenders in England and Wales, and next was South Yorkshire.

News and features editor of Auto Express Julie Sinclair said: "Our investigation reveals the shocking truth behind the police penalty points system in the UK, that it's a postcode lottery. The extent to which your driving licence is at risk simply depends on where you live."

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