10 highest and lowest places for penalty points

Glasgow - the city with the highest proportion of drivers with points (@John Lindie - Flickr)Glasgow - the city with the highest proportion of drivers with points (@John Lindie - Flickr)

In total over 3.3 million drivers have penalty points on their licences - 9% of the total. Shockingly almost 100,000 of those drivers have 9 or more points.

CTC's Road Justice campaign has looked at data for 120 postcode areas in Great Britain (Northern Ireland excluded) and can reveal which places have the highest and lowest proportion of licenced drivers who have been given penalty points.

These figures don't necessarily mean drivers are 'better' in places with lower rates; it is more likely that the places with higher proportions of drivers with points are simply enforcing the law properly. Places with more road traffic policing and more resources devoted to camera enforcement are likely to see higher proportions of drivers with points.

Detailed data for a lower level of postcode (i.e. EH2) has also been mapped by CTC.

Which places have the most and least drivers with points?

Rank (most)Postcode area% of drivers with any points
2Motherwell (ML)14.1%
3Kilmarnock (KA)12.2%
4Liverpool (L)12.0%
5Paisley (PA)11.6%
6Bournemouth (BH)11.5%
7Blackburn (BB)11.0%
8Slough (SL)10.9%
9Dorchester (DT)10.8%
10Sunderland (SR)10.6%
Rank (least)Postcode area% of drivers with any points
120Lerwick (ZE)4.0%
119Outer Hebrides (HS)4.9%
118East Central London (EC)5.4%
117Truro (TR)5.5%
116West Central London (WC)5.6%
115Canterbury (CT)5.6%
114Exeter (EX)6.3%
113Bromley (BR)6.4%
112West London (W)6.5%
111North West London (NW)6.6%

Glasgow tops the list, with a whopping one in seven drivers holding points. Other locations in the west of Scotland - the Motherwell and Kilmarnock postcode areas - follow close behind.

Lerwick, the postal town for Shetland, comes out with the lowest proportion of drivers with points, with the Outer Hebrides close behind. Parts of London also appear to have fewer drivers with penalty points as a proportion of the total.

And those with nine penalty points or more?

Rank (most)Postcode area% of penalty point holding drivers with 9+ points
1East London (E)4.35%
2South East London (SE)4.26%
3Bradford (BD)3.90%
4Kilmarnock (KA)3.80%
5Croydon (CR)3.72%
6Southall (UB)3.72%
7Glasgow (G)3.69%
8Ilford (IG)3.62%
9North West London (NW)3.58%
10Blackpool (FY)3.58%
Rank (least)Postcode area% of penalty point holding drivers with 9+ points
120Salisbury (SP)1.86%
119Truro (TR)1.91%
118Exeter (EX)1.94%
117Outer Hebrides (HS)1.94%
116Dorchester (DT)1.95%
115Kirkwall (KW)2.02%
114Torquay (TQ)2.10%
113Swindon (SN)2.12%
112Galashiels (TD)2.15%
111Bath (BA)2.15%

When it comes to police detecting serial offenders - those with 9 points or more - London comes out bottom. 5 of the top 10 locations with drivers close to - or holding - driving bans are in London. Despite only having average numbers of drivers with any points, South East and East London are the areas with the highest proportion of drivers with 9+ points, with postcode areas in Glasgow not far behind.

At the other end of the table, the South West comes out with the lowest rate. 7 of the top ten postcode areas are in the South West, with Salisbury, Truro, and Exeter having the lowest proportion of drivers with 9 points or more.

What explains this variation?

London is a curious case: parts of London feature as having both low levels of any driver penalty points, but high rates of 9+ points.

The high proportion of drivers in London who have many penalty points may in part be due to the fact that a large proportion of London's population may hold driving licences, but not own cars.This would mean that the overall number of those who have any points are likely to be lower than elsewhere in the country. Of the remaining London drivers, a higher proportion of the total who do drive are likely to be professional drivers, such as taxi drivers, who are likely to accumulate more points simply due to travelling more miles.

That parts of the South West in Devon and Cornwall have relatively low rates of driver penalty points may in part be down to the low levels of road traffic policing, but also may be linked to the relatively older average age of the population. Older drivers tend to drive less than younger ones, reducing the chances of being caught breaking the law.

Lobby the police for better road traffic law enforcement

CTC believes that better resourced and more effective roads policing will help track down irresponsible drivers and lead to successful prosecutions, thereby removing bad drivers from the roads and sending out a clear message that bad driving is not tolerated. If you want to lobby your local police force to take bad driving seriously by pledging to implement the recommendations from the Road Justice report, please click here to sign the Road Justice petition.

A full dataset for all 120 postcodes can be downloaded below.

Dataset of driver licence rates per postcode area53.5 KB
In collaboration with
  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cycling UK is a trading name of Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no: 25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales charity no: 1147607 and in Scotland charity no: sco42541. Registered office: Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 9JX.