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A recent report has revealed that hundreds of children under the age of 17 were disqualified from driving last year, with some as young as 12.
Official figures were made available by via a Freedom of Information request made by Churchill Car Insurance, which revealed that the number of under-17s disqualified last year had risen to 725 from 692 in the previous year – a 5% increase.
However, despite being too young to legally drive, the courts are still able can still impose formal driving bans on children before their seventeenth birthday. For some youngsters, this ban will be served by the time they are eventually old enough to drive.
Churchill has argued that this ‘doesn’t make sense’ and has called for disqualifications to commence from the date that the offender becomes legally able to drive.
1,701 drivers under the age of 17 have been banned over the past two and a half years and seven of these were only twelve years old.
Of the remainder of those convicted; 52 were aged 13, 179 were aged 14, 454 were aged 15 and 1,009 were aged 16.
The figures also reveal that 929 children had been prosecuted for multiple driving offences, with one 16-year-old notching up a total of 15 prosecutions.
87 were prosecuted for at least five driving offences and 15 were convicted of 10 offences.
The Express reports that ‘[underage drivers] leave a trail of carnage with 1,000 casualties a year including 221 killed or seriously hurt.
Related Article: Will the UK introduce Graduated Driving Licensing for Young Drivers?
The Churchill Car Insurance report highlights that: ‘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.'
‘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.'
It goes on to warn that: '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.'
Ed Morrow, Campaigns Officer at road safety charity Brake said: “These young people getting behind the wheel before they’re legally able to do so pose a massive risk to themselves and others.”
“This may be a symptom of the overbearing social pressure that is put on young people to start driving before they are really ready to so, whether they are of legal age or not.”
“We know that the later you learn to drive, the safer you are.”
Head of car insurance at Churchill, Steve Barret, called for driving bans to begin when underage offenders reach 17 rather than being served when they cannot even legally drive.
He 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.”
He added: “The number of repeat offenders is proof in itself of how ineffective a deterrent it is.”
What do you think should be done to discourage underage driving? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section below.
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