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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 October 2006, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Dangerous drivers 'get licences'
Car crash
Experts believe the loophole must be plugged
A legal loophole allows potentially dangerous learner drivers to get licences, the BBC has discovered.

In August, 2005, Chantelle Burridge, 17, was killed in an accident where the driver had nine penalty points on his provisional licence.

However, the 20-year-old was still allowed to drive and passed his driving test five weeks before the accident.

The New Drivers Act 1997 puts all new drivers who pass their test on two years probation.

If you ban someone for six points once they've got their full licence, you should do the same if they get six points on a provisional
Martyn Burridge, Chantelle's father

If they amass six penalty points in that time (rather than the normal 12), they will have their licence revoked.

However, there are no similar provisions for learners driving on a provisional licence.

Nick Freeman, a lawyer well known for defending high profile figures such as Ronnie O'Sullivan and Sir Alex Ferguson, told Radio 4's Law in Action: "It's a loophole that needs to be plugged.

"There isn't any fairness in the system when you can amass 11 points on a provisional licence, take the test and drive."

Change demanded

He added: "We need an amendment to the existing legislation. There should be parity with new drivers driving on a full licence."

Chantelle's father Martyn is pressing the Department for Transport for a change in the law.

He said: 'Whatever we do isn't going to bring Chantelle back but if you ban someone for six points once they've got their full licence, you should do the same if they get six points on a provisional."

He favours a three-year delay to the taking of a driving test for new drivers who get six points on a provisional licence.

The Department of Transport issued a statement which said: "The Department of Transport is looking carefully at whether there is a case for automatic disqualification of provisional licence holders before they accrue 12 points."

Law in Action airs on Radio 4 on Tuesday at 4pm.

Victim's relative on how the loophole let a dangerous driver escape punishment

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