Man caught speeding at 109mph escapes ban to ‘protect the NHS’

Nick Knowles pledges to ‘change behaviour’ after driving ban

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York resident Adedapo Olumwaseun Ogunjimi was driving on the M1 motorway in March last year when he was flashed by a speed camera doing a staggering 109mph. The UK was in a partial lockdown at the time.

The 29-year-old was heading Northbound in the early evening at a huge speed in his Audi when he was picked up.

He pleaded guilty to the offence at Sheffield Magistrates Court, where it was heard he was liable for a six-month ban under the ‘totting up’ procedure.

However after he told the court he was a key worker, he escaped with a fine.

That amounted to £500 plus a £50 surcharge and £110 prosecution costs.

After hearing the man’s plea, the court decided that imposing a ban would cause him ‘exceptional hardship’.

A statement from the court read: “Not being able to do his job properly would impact an overly burdened NHS in Covid-19 pandemic which, in turn, would impact society.”

The exceptional hardship rule is one that has been exploited by lawyers in recent years to avoid clients serving a ban.

More than 8,000 speeding drivers avoid losing their license each year thanks to the loophole.

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That’s despite some people having been killed by the offenders in question.

More than one in five of all drivers handed 12 points or more, which usually results in a ban, are exempted.

Labour peer and road safety campaigner Lord Berkeley said: “Exempting one in five drivers is wrong. It should be one in 500.

“At present, anyone who can afford a loophole lawyer can join the 85,000 drivers who get off.”

Several celebrities have also benefited from the exceptional hardship loophole.

Steve Coogan successfully argued in court that he couldn’t be handed a driving ban because he needed to film a series of Alan Partridge.

Similarly, chef Tom Kerridge escaped a ban despite hitting 12 points because judges were told it would ‘destroy’ his ability to film a show in the US.

However presenter Nick Knowles wasn’t so lucky, being given a six-month ban for speeding in his Range Rover while using a mobile, which he accepted.

Motoring offences that qualify for totting up include speeding, which can accrue three to six points and drink driving, which can be up to 11 points.

Jason Wakeford of road safety charity Brake said: “If drivers who rack up 12 points aren’t banned, it makes a mockery of the system.

“These dangerous repeat offenders have been granted ample opportunity to change their driving behaviour.

“Yet they continue to put lives at risk through their complete disregard for the law.”

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