AN EAST Lancashire motorist with a staggering 49 points on their licence is still being permitted to get behind the wheel.

Over 100 motorists with enough points on their licences to trigger a ban are still using East Lancashire’s road networks, the latest data from the DVLA has revealed.

However the most shocking case came from a driver registered in Burnley who according to figures has a staggering 49 penalty points to their name.

In two cases across Blackburn with Darwen drivers had racked up 24 points, with another two motorists in the borough registering with 20 points on their licences.

However a senior figure of the courts sentencing council explained there are ‘legitimate’ reasons a driver may have excess points on their licence and still be allowed to drive.

Chairman Lord Justice Holroyde said: “The council is aware of public concern that offenders who have incurred 12 penalty points or more are not always disqualified from driving.

“There are legitimate reasons why this might happen: the law allows for such a disqualification to be avoided or reduced for reasons of exceptional hardship.”

In total, at least 85 drivers registered to a Blackburn with Darwen postcode have not had their rights to drive taken away from them despite having a minimum of 12 points on their licence - in Burnley a further 33.

Throughout lockdown, roads in and around East Lancashire have seen several cases of dangerous speeding, prompting the launch of Operation Manta Ray.

Examples have included a Mercedes A3 AMG driver from Rossendale who was clocked at 160mph on the M61. Elsewhere, a McLaren was seized in June for exceeding speeds of 100mph - while the driver was disqualified.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said it was concerning that drivers with 12 points or more were still allowed on the roads.

Nick Lloyd, the organisation’s head of road safety, added: “Unfortunately some drivers either intentionally or unintentionally drive above the speed limit, thereby placing themselves, their passengers and other road users in danger.”

If a driver reaches this threshold they face a disqualification of at least six months, unless the court accepts that ‘exceptional hardship’, such as job loss, would be caused.

Across the country as a whole, almost 11,000 drivers are estimated to be on the roads despite having an excess number of points.

One driver, a 41-year-old woman from Brighton and Hove, had even received 68 points on her license – the most in the country.

Across Great Britain, 2.7 million drivers, aged between 15 and 102, have at least one point on their licence.

Road safety charity Brake said the law should be used to its fullest extent when dealing with ‘selfish’ speeders.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns, said: “There is no justification for travelling over the speed limit.

“It is extremely important that all drivers recognise that speed limits exist to help save lives and that any crash add burden to our stretched emergency services and NHS.”

The sentencing council recently concluded a consultation on driving offences disqualifications, with revised guidelines set to be published later this year.

A Government spokesman said: “Speeding puts the lives of drivers and others at risk, putting needless pressure on our emergency services which should be focused on helping the nation battle Covid-19.

“The presence of a valid driving entitlement does not mean that all individuals are actively driving in the UK, and these statistics include cases where drivers have rightly been punished for the breaking the law, and have received court sentences including disqualification, supervision orders, community orders or imprisonment.”