Where are the UK's worst drivers, and how does your town fare?


pub by the road

Researchers from Auto Express have discovered that the worst drivers in Britain are in Smethwick in the West Midlands. They worked out the percentage of all licence holders in each area that had been banned from driving, and found that Smethwick holds the record - with 0.77% of drivers currently banned from getting behind the wheel.

So where else made the list? And what does a ban mean to drivers?

Top ten

The magazine used figures from the DVLA. They calculated the percentage of drivers with a ban in every town with more than 20,000 licence holders.

Their top ten was:
Smethwick 0.77% are banned
West Bromwich 0.73%
Barking 0.73%
Nelson 0.68%
Bradford 0.65%
Tipton 0.63%
Merthyr Tydfil 0.62%
Peterhead 0.6%
Wishaw 0.6%
Dagenham 0.6%


Understanding exactly why these areas have such a high percentage of disqualified drivers is tricky. There are a wide variety of reasons for a ban. Keith Michaels, a broker who specialises in insurance for previously banned drivers, says that the most common reasons for a ban are drink driving, simply totting up too many points - picking up 12 points in three years through small infringements, driving without insurance, and excessive speeding. In some instances dangerous driving will also lead to a ban.

An area may be prone to more bans because people break these particular rules more often, because there is a high density of speed cameras or because they have been targeted by traffic police.

The magazine did not attempt to draw the correlation between the high levels of deprivation in parts of many of these towns and the driving bans. However, if this is a coincidence, then it is a striking one.

The magazine also found that at the other end of the spectrum the best-behaved drivers were in Harpenden, where only 0.08% of drivers are banned, and Rayleigh where 0.09% have a ban.


If you are banned from driving, the effect on your car insurance premiums can be staggering. Moneysupermarket found that just 4-6 points on your licence increases the cost of your premiums by 25%, while motorists with 10 or 11 points will expect to pay around 90% more.

After a ban you will struggle to get insurance at all, because most insurers will ask if you have ever been banned, and will exclude drivers entirely if they have ever been banned. For those who will insure previously-banned drivers, the increase in premiums will depend to a certain extent on the reason for the ban, but they will be at least double the cost for someone without points - and in some circumstances you'll be left paying three times as much after a ban.