RAC Sounds Alarm Over Underage Drivers

Figures released by the DVLA following a Freedom of Information question has revealed that over 1,000 under 17s were disqualified from driving in 2017. The number has risen by 47% over the last four years. Last year 33 children aged 13 and under were banned.

The DVLA offers no regional breakdown of the figures but the problem seems widespread across the UK.

Last year three teenage boys in London were caught riding a stolen moped, after it crashed. Knives were recovered at the scene. In March 2017 Police in South Shields caught a 14 year boy driving himself to school in a Renault Clio, naturally it was untaxed and uninsured. In October Lancashire Police caught a 14 year old driving a BMW 3 series on the M55 motorway.

RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said: “These figures are truly shocking as every underage driver presents a frightening danger to other road users as they could so easily end up taking someone else’s life as well as their own.

“Sadly, this is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg because they have to be caught breaking the law in this way and, with a 27% reduction in the number of roads policing officers since 2010, the chances of getting caught are far lower. This means many underage drivers are inevitably getting away scot free.

“Every child that gets behind the wheel is also driving without insurance which is a cost that is borne by every law-abiding motorist who pays car insurance. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which acts as the insurer of last resort, pays out around 25,000 claims on uninsured and untraced, or ‘hit and run’, drivers every year, with 120 of these involving accidents where someone lost their life.

“In this day and age we really shouldn’t be having children driving before they’re allowed to legally with their provisional driving licence at 17. More needs to be done to stop this happening, but we appreciate it’s a very difficult problem to tackle, especially when legitimate young drivers are renting out vehicles to groups of children so they can have a go at the wheel.

“It also seems very wrong that children caught committing this offence can serve their bans while they are legally not allow to drive, leaving them free to start learning to drive once they turn 17.”

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