UK may get “postcode lottery” of traffic policing, warns cycling charity

New data maps motorists according to points on their licence

A new CTC Road Justice map displays where UK motorists carry points

A cycling charity says a new map of UK drivers with points on their licence could reveal a ‘postcode lottery in traffic policing’ of offences that put cyclists’ lives in danger.


The map on the CTC’s Road Justice website breaks down the government data by postcode.

In Glasgow, the figures suggest almost 15 percent of drivers across the city have points. In the Castlemilk suburb almost one in five drivers have  endorsements. At the other end of the spectrum, less than four percent of Shetland drivers carry points.

The CTC said factors contributing to the discrepancies included urban areas with high numbers of eligible but inactive drivers and rural areas where authorities are less inclined to punish drivers with points.

But CTC policy co-ordinator Chris Peck said reduced numbers of traffic police officers catching bad drivers were also to blame.

“It can’t be just down to driver behaviour that one in eight drivers in Glasgow have penalty points, but just one in 20 have points in Shetland,” said Peck. “The stark difference between some locations very close to one another shows that there may be a postcode lottery of policing going on – with bad drivers in Dorset twice as likely to be caught than those in Salisbury, no more than 25 miles away.

“Overall there are a third fewer road traffic police today than 10 years ago – but the reduction has been greater in some police forces than in others.”

In August, the Government announced increased fines for bad driving and new powers for the police to hand out instant punishments for some offences which are particularly dangerous for cyclists, such as close overtaking, and pulling out at junctions carelessly. Police groups said the new rules would be hard to enforce because traffic control police numbers are at a low of 3,500 for England and Wales.

The CTC has also called for the police to make greater use of cyclists’ helmet cam footage to penalise bad driving.


Penalty points can be given for more than 50 offences, ranging from failing to stop after an accident to breaking the speed limit and refusing take an eye test. Penalty points remain on a driver’s licence for between four and 11 years. Building up 12 points in three years leads to driver disqualification.