Nearly one in five drivers have taken penalty points for another motorist, a survey suggested today.
Men are almost three times more likely than women to take the blame for another driver’s offence, according to research commissioned by Co-op Insurance.
More than one in four men have accepted points for another motorist, compared with just one in ten women.
Almost half of those who have illegally taken points have done so for their partner.
The most common reason is a belief their car insurance is so cheap there would be no financial impact.
This is followed by helping the other person avoid a driving ban – in nearly one in four cases – and financial gain – nearly one in five cases – with average payments worth £220.
Anyone caught can be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
In 2013, former cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce were jailed for eight months after she agreed to take his speeding points to avoid him losing his licence in 2003.
Drivers can be disqualified if they get 12 points within a three-year period. New drivers can have their licence revoked if they receive six points within two years of passing the test.
The Co-op’s head of motor insurance, Nick Ansley, said: “It’s surprising and quite concerning a fifth of motorists have taken penalty points for someone else.”
Some 2,000 UK adults were polled for the research.
Superintendent Andrew Allan, of Police Scotland’s criminal justice department said: “We view any attempt by drivers attempting to evade justice very seriously indeed.
“Whether it is tampering with licence plates to try and fool speed cameras or giving false information to try and avoid a fixed penalty, the person attempting this type of offence is most likely to end up facing a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice, the consequences of which are very serious indeed.”
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “As money-making schemes go this is one of the most flawed.
“Being paid a few hundred pounds to take the blame for someone else might seem harmless enough, but if you’re caught then you could be found guilty of perverting the course of justice, the cost of which can be a big fine and even a prison sentence, not to mention a hefty hike in insurance premiums.
“Front-facing cameras mean often there is clear evidence of who was actually driving.”