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In certain cases it can be argued that ‘special reasons’ apply for not disqualifying a driver, shortening the period of disqualification, for imposing a reduced number of penalty points or for not imposing penalty points at all.

Special reasons can be defined as mitigating circumstances relating to the offence itself rather than to the consequences of disqualification (see exceptional hardship) which do not amount to a defence to the charge but which may justify the court in departing from the imposing the normal sentence that would be imposed.

A medical emergency which forces a driver to use his car in some unlawful way may well amount to ‘special reasons’ as might other sorts of non-medical emergencies. For example a driver who whilst under the influence of alcohol moves his motor vehicle out of the way of emergency service vehicles would arguably be entitled to rely on a special reasons argument.

One particular type of special reasons argument is particularly useful to those charged with driving without insurance.

The reported cases of Marshall v McLeod 1998 Scottish Criminal Case Reports 317 and Gordon v Procurator Fiscal, Cupar supports the argument that if the owner of a motor vehicle gives a full assurance to a driver that the driver is insured to drive his motor vehicle and the driver has no apparent reason to doubt him then it would be unfair for the driver to face the legal consequences of driving without insurance. Special reasons exist to prevent disqualification.

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