One in five drivers have taken penalty points for someone else

21 June 2018

  • Men almost three times more likely to take points for another driver than women
  • Drivers will pay another motorist £504 to take their penalty points
  • Yet motorists will take another driver’s points for £220

A fifth (19%) of UK motorists have broken the law by taking penalty points for another driver, despite 92% knowing it’s illegal, according to a new study, released today by Co-op Insurance.¹

The study reveals almost half (49%) of point swappers have taken the rap for their spouse or partner.

A quarter (23%) broke the law by taking points for their daughter, compared to just 6% who did so for their son, and a further tenth (9%) said they swapped points with their mothers.

Furthermore, the study reveals men are more likely than women to take the blame for another driver’s offence, with over a quarter (28%) of men having accepted points for another motorist, compared to just a tenth (10%) of women.

When asked why these motorists have committed this crime, over a quarter (27%) said they did so because their insurance was cheap and so having points on their license would not have impacted them financially.

A quarter (23%) said they had to swap points to avoid the other motorist being banned from driving. For a fifth (18%) financial gain was their main reason for taking the points, with an average gain of £220.

Most common reasons drivers swap penalty points

  • 27% said their insurance was cheap and points wouldn’t have impacted them financially
  • 23% swapped points to avoid the other motorist being banned from driving
  • 18% took the points in exchange for money
  • 18% couldn’t agree who was driving at the time so just took the points
  • 18% said the at fault driver was already banned from driving so would have been in even more trouble
  • 17% took points as they themselves were already banned from driving
  • 17% swapped points because they felt it was their fault the other driver was speeding

In addition to a fifth (19%) of motorists swapping points with another driver, over a sixth (17%) of all UK motorists say they’ve personally asked someone else to take points on their own behalf.

Half (50%) of these drivers asked their spouse, a sixth (17%) asked their sons and 14% asked their daughters.

The study also reveals that UK motorists are willing to pay more than they’ll accept when it comes to point swapping and are offering up an average of £504 to loved ones in exchange for them taking their points.

Nick Ansley, Head of Motor Insurance at the Co-op said:

It’s surprising and quite concerning that a fifth of motorists have taken penalty points for someone else.

Penalty points are in place to deter people from committing motoring offences and to ensure safer driving for all on the roads.

We want to ensure people are safe on the roads and whilst some drivers may think they’re helping out another, by swapping penalty points, they’re putting themselves and others at risk.


Media Contact:

Hannah Charlton
Phone: 07713 314 894

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¹Research was conducted in May among 2000 UK adults on behalf of Co-op Insurance with Atomik Research

About Co-op Insurance:

Co-op Insurance is part of Co-op, one of the world’s largest consumer co-ops, owned by millions of members. Alongside Co-op Insurance, we have the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the UK’s number one funeral services provider, and a developing legal services business.

As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Co-op is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes.