Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I've just been reading this on the BBC. To be honest, it isn't something I've thought about in great depth given I would never even consider driving drunk. But this article got me to think about it. How can banning you from driving as a punishment actually work? The crime you commit is driving drunk, which is illegal. The punishment - in this case apparently - is to ban the woman over and over. Driving while banned is also illegal but if you were happy to drive illegally in the first place then why would driving while banned worry you, given it seems less illegal than driving drunk?
I learned to drive 24 years ago and average 10 000 miles (16 000km) a year. Despite having driven more than 240 000 miles (384 000km) I have never once been stopped by the police or had anyone look at my licence while driving, not here, not anywhere in Europe. If this is the norm, the reckless drunk is likely to carry on driving normally, believing no one will ever check their licence, no?


derek said...

The punishment for drink driving is a mandatory ban - 12 months minimum or 3 years minimum if it is a second drink driving offence in 10 years. The court can also impose a fine/community service etc or even jail.
A first offence of drink driving is unlikely to result in jail but this is not impossible. A second conviction makes jail a real possibilty and a third or more it becomes pretty hard to avoid jail.
Driving whilst disqualified is treated by the courts as a contempt and is always treated seriously. Even a first conviction for that can (and regularly does) result in jail.
Whenever anyone is disqualified their details are passed to the police and entered on to the police national computer (pnc). Any time the police are called to an accident or road traffic offence they will carry out a pnc check.
You would be surprised how often these offences are caught!
The main problem i see is that you are much more likely to be caught for this type of offence if you live in a small town (where generally the police will know the disqualified drivers by sight) than you are in the likes of Glasgow.
In the particular report you are referring to it is not very clear but sentence has been deferred. I suspect the reason being that the Sheriff has called for background reports which he is obliged to do before he can send the woman to jail.

The Scudder said...

I take it Derek was having a slow day ?!