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Where Do the UK’s Worst Drivers Live?

February 2, 2024

4 min read

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Leon McKenzie

Content Writer

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Whilst you might consider yourself to be a good driver, the same can't be said for others in the UK. In fact, penalty points have become quite common amongst motorists. According to the latest stats from the DVSA, almost 2.7 million full licence holders have penalty points on their record! It's enough to make a driving instructor weep. You might be wondering, then, where do the UK's worst drivers live?

To answer that question, we've delved into the DVSA's latest figures for the number of penalty points given to motorists by postcode. Below, you'll find out which cities, towns and postcode districts contain the highest percentage of penalty point holders. We've even included an interactive map so you can check how bad the drivers in your area are!

The full picture

There are currently over 41 million full licence holders in the UK. (Though, of course, not all of these licence holders actively drive.) The number of those with penalty points stands—as of December 2019—at 2,699,544. This means that 6.58% of licence holders in the UK have committed some kind of motoring offence. That's about 1 in 15!

These types of offences can range from speeding to drink driving to not wearing a seatbelt. The more serious the offence, the more points you receive. Penalty points can stay on a driver's record for a minimum of four years, and, up to 11 years if the offence is serious enough.

The question, then, is which areas have the most drivers with penalty points? To find the answer, we turned to the expert in all things driving stats-related: the DVSA. Using the latest data, we were able to find out which postcodes have the highest percentage of drivers with penalty points.

Where do the UK's worst drivers live?

We're going to kick things off with a look at the towns and cities with the highest percentage of motorists with penalty points on their full driving licence. We've broken it down into the top ten in the table below.

Where do the UK's worst drivers live table

As you can see, Bath takes the cake here. Out of a total of 315,304 motorists living in the area, 45,242 have penalty points. This means 14.35% of local licence holders have at least one penalty point on their licence! However, the rest of the top ten are dominated by areas in Yorkshire, including Leeds, Bradford and Halifax. Rounding out this bunch of miscreant drivers are Slough and Bristol.

In sharp contrast to these figures, Canterbury appears to have the best drivers around—with only 3.91% of its licence holders having penalty points on their driving record.

Not detailed enough? We're way ahead of you! We've created an interactive map so you can see what the percentage of drivers with penalty points is like in your area. You can get the full breakdown in the map below.

Let's take a closer look

So, we've covered the general towns and cities with the highest percentage of penalty point holders. Next, we're going to narrow it down even further by looking at the top 10 postcode districts with the highest percentage of motorists with penalty points on their licence. Hint: you might be able to spot a pattern emerging!

Highest percentage of penalty point holders table

The postcode district with the highest percentage of motorists with points on their licence is BD13 in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Of the 18,229 qualified drivers in the area, 2,665 of them have points on their licence—that's 14.62%! And that's just the tip of the iceberg for Bradford. There are four more of its postcodes in the top 10—BD4, BD14, BD3 and BD9 respectively.

You might be sensing a slight trend here. All of the postcodes in this table fall into the West Yorkshire region. LS23, in the Leeds area, takes the second spot with 933 out of 6,872qualified motorists holding points on their licence—working out at 13.58%.

Though it may seem odd that so many of the worst-offending areas are so close together, it's worth noting that West Yorkshire was "among the top 10 counties for number of offenders" in 2017 according to the BBC. Bradford itself has also seen some publicity over the years for the poor driving in and around the city.

Penalty points broken down

Our next step with the DVSA's data was to look at what the distribution of penalty points was like amongst the top 10 postcodes with the highest percentage of penalty point holders. If you look at the table below, you can see how many points each person has (out of those who have any points at all).

Penalty points broken down table

The vast majority of these penalty point holders have only accumulated three points overall. The numbers dip and then peak once more at six points—the second highest number of points that these drivers have on their record. This isn't too surprising, as most common driving offences usually carry penalties of either 3 or 6 penalty points.

Of course, even the most careful driver around can end up picking up the odd point or two. Whilst these postcodes certainly have the highest percentage of motorists with penalty points, that's not to say that these areas are home to the worst drivers in the UK.

With that in mind, we decided to delve further into these figures to instead look at which areas have the most motorists with 12 penalty points or more on their licence.

The worst of the bunch

Of the 2,699,544 motorists who have points from committing a driving offence, an alarming 10,648 have 12 or more penalty points on record. We sifted through these figures to find out which areas are home to the most drivers with 12 or more points on their current driving record. Have a look at the table below to see which areas made it into the top ten...

The worst of the bunch table

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