More than half a million drivers just a text away from a driving ban

Posted on 16/10/23 |
  • More than half a million drivers have six points on their licence, risking a driving ban if caught using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel
  • Almost 100,000 drivers have 9 points on their licence, an 8% increase on August 2022

There are more than half-a-million drivers with six points on their licence who are a text, like or an emoji away from an automatic driving ban, according to new analysis of DVLA data by UK road safety charity IAM RoadSmart. 
The penalty for using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel can result in a £200 fine and six points on the licence, putting a whopping 542,287 drivers already carrying six points at of risk of a driving ban. Worse still, a further 94,088 drivers with nine points on their licence are even closer to temporarily losing their right to drive. Those totting up 12 or more points within three years face an automatic six-month driving ban.  

300x424 drivers at risk infographicMore widely, there are 2,030,985 drivers with three points on their licence. The proportion of drivers with three, six and nine points on their licence as of 5th August 2023 has increased quite markedly on the same period last year, most notably among those with nine points where there is an 8% increase on the 86,849 who had nine points in August 2022. 

A further breakdown of the figures* reveals that of the 2.03 million drivers with three points on their licence, 1.39 million of these are male, compared to 642,447 females with the same status - meaning that 68% of all drivers with three points are males and 32% are female. These proportions widen considerably at six points with males making up 76% (413,700 licence holders) and females representing 24% (133,587). Male drivers make up 80% (74,904 licence holders) of those with nine points - effectively last chance saloon - with females making up just 20% (19,183). The proportion of female drivers with points on their licence is growing more quickly than their male counterparts, however this is starting from a lower base number.  

The rapid annual growth between 2022 and 2023 will reinforce the need for drivers to change behaviours at the wheel or risk a driving ban, or worse injuring or killing either themselves or someone else on the road.  

IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy, Campaigns and Standards Nicholas Lyes said: 

“It is astounding that there are more half a million drivers just one touch of their phone away from a driving ban. Anyone with six points on their licence that is tempted to text or take a selfie on their phone is not only risking a ban but is a potential danger to themselves and other road users. A pinging phone can be a massive distraction, so it is best to put it out of sight, out of reach and on silent. 

“Drivers with any number of points on their licence, but especially those with six or nine should not only evaluate their driving skills but think about the risk a driving ban could have on their livelihoods. Thankfully, education and training courses can play a role in making people safer drivers, along with changing behaviours and attitudes - something IAM RoadSmart offers across the UK and would encourage police forces to recommend to drivers. 

“There is a more-widely held suspicion that driving standards are deteriorating and the worrying jump in the number of people with points on their licence should be a wake-up call to the government to roll out new enforcement measures and to publish their updated road safety strategy.”

Download infographic here.

Table 1

Table 2

Notes to editors:   

Figures are based on a freedom of information request submitted to DVLA on 15 August 2023. Figures listed are as of 5 August 2023 & 6 August 2022. GB Driving Licence Data - 

Tables are the latest data sets available and have been analysed and presented by IAM RoadSmart in an easy-to-read format above 

Notes to editors:   

Press contacts: 

Nicholas Lyes, Director of Policy and Standards, IAM Roadsmart  

Emma Mitchell, Press and Communications Manager, IAM RoadSmart  

Rebecca Dundon, Press officer, IAM RoadSmart 

Press office – +44 (0) 20 8996 9777 –                

Follow us: 
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On Twitter: @IAMRoadSmart   

About IAM RoadSmart 

IAM RoadSmart is the UK’s largest road safety charity. It has a vision of a society where all road users can safely and sustainably use the public highways together. It does this through a range of means including through the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart was formed in March 1956 and has over 75,000 members that supports its campaigns on road safety. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses.  
To find out more about IAM RoadSmart products and services visit: 


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