THREE areas of Bolton have been identified as being home to the town's most reckless drivers.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Transport, certain postcode areas have a concentration of drivers who have received penalty points.

The most irresponsible drivers in Bolton live in the BL1 postcode area, which covers the streets south of Halliwell Road between Smithills and Halliwell.

There, 2,694 out of its 37,670 drivers - or 7.2 per cent - have penalty points on their licences.

Just behind it is the BL7 area which covers parts of Belmont and Turton. 867 of the 12,244 drivers living there (7.1 per cent) have collected penalty points.

The third worst area is the BL2 zone where 1,792 of its 28,202 drivers (6.4 per cent) have penalty points. This area includes Darcy Lever, Burnden, Bradley Fold, Breightmet and The Haulgh.

The findings were made by the company Regtransfers which analysed the DoT data.

There are 241,099 drivers within Bolton and the figures reveal that 15,111 of them - 6.3 per cent - have penalty points.

On a positive note, Bolton did not feature in the top 100 postcode areas for drivers with penalty points.

The TS2 postcode area of Cleveland, North Yorkshire, had the highest percentage of offenders at 13.6 per cent.

Joshua Harris of road safety charity BRAKE, said: "We need the Government to make roads policing an investment priority so there is an active deterrent to illegal behaviour and drivers who break the law know that they will be caught and punished.”

Penalty points can be given out for a variety of offences. Apart from speeding and drink driving, failing to stop after an accident, driving without insurance, using a vehicle with defective breaks/tyres/steering, using a hand-held mobile phone while driving and driving without insurance can all result in penalty points.

Penalty points cost UK drivers more than £132 million a year in higher insurance premiums. Points can stay on motorists' driving records for up to 11 years, and licences can be lost if too many are accumulated.