10th August 2015
An ever-rising number of children are being disqualified from driving before they are even legally old enough to get behind the wheel claims new research.
The analysis from Churchill Car Insurance revealed that despite not being legally old enough to drive, the courts can award children a formal driving ban to be served before their 17th birthday.
It found that 725 children under the age of 17 were disqualified from driving last year, an increase of 5% on 2013 when 692 drivers under 17 were banned from the road.
In 2015 already, 284 children too young to hold a provisional driving licence, have been disqualified by the courts – a 5% increase on the same period in 2013.
However more surprisingly, if children drive cars illegally on the road they may still be able to secure a driving licence when they turn 17, much like any other young driver.
Bans for underage drivers often start from the date of conviction and could therefore have expired by the time the offender reaches 17, though endorsements will still be listed on any licence issued.
Courts treat under-aged non-licence holders disqualified for driving offences exactly the same way as full licence holders, meaning a record will be set up on the DVLA’s database for non-licence holders upon which offences are registered.
But children as young as 12 years old are being disqualified from driving by the courts, even though they cannot apply for a provisional driving licence for another five years. Those driving cars under the age of 17 without a licence are putting themselves, passengers, other road users and pedestrians at incredible risk, as they have not been deemed fit to drive and have no valid insurance if an accident occurs.
Steve Barrett, head of Car Insurance at Churchill Insurance, said: “It is shocking to see hundreds of children legally disqualified from driving at an age when they should never even be behind the wheel. We need harder hitting education schemes highlighting the risks and dangers of driving underage and uninsured.
“It doesn’t make sense that bans are served when children are not legally able to drive. The number of repeat offenders is proof in itself of how ineffective a deterrent this is. Bans should commence from the date an offender becomes 17.”
Churchill’s analysis also found that hundreds of children under the age of 17 are committing multiple driving offences. Some 923 children under the age of 17 have been prosecuted more than once for driving offences, with children as young as 12 convicted multiple times. A child aged 16 has already been prosecuted 15 times for driving offences. Statistics reveal 87 young people have been prosecuted for at least five driving offences and 15 have already been convicted of at least 10 offences.
Number of individuals under the age of 17 who have been disqualified from driving
|Age of driver when disqualified||2013 number of children disqualified from driving||2014 number of children disqualified from driving||2015 (up until 23rd May) number of children disqualified from driving|
Source: Churchill Car Insurance