More than 5,000 children have been banned from driving since 2009, but many will still be able to get behind the wheel on their 17th birthday, according to the Telegraph.
They include a 12 year old who received a life ban after being convicted of two counts of aggravated vehicle theft and one of failing to supply a specimen for alcohol testing.
But, according to the Telegraph, others will be able to start driving legally because the ban starts immediately. For example a 15 year old who was disqualified for two years after being convicted of causing death by dangerous driving will be free to apply for a licence at the age of 17.
Figures obtained under Freedom of Information by Auto Express magazine show a total of 5,333 people under 17 have received driving bans in the last three years.
They include five 11 year olds, 41 12 year olds, 164 13 year olds, 578 14 year olds, 1,420 15 year olds and 3,125 16 year olds.
Paul Watters, from the AA, said members of the public would be “horrified” by the figures. “Motoring lawlessness is a real problem in this country. Thankfully it is only a small minority of young children who behave in this way,” he said.
But he defended the decision to allow the bans to kick in with immediate effect rather than wait until they’re old enough to obtain a driving licence, adding: “You have to give young people the benefit of the doubt as far as possible.”
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “If parents are held responsible for their children not attending school, isn’t there a case for also imposing a punishment on them if their youngsters commit a driving offence as a juvenile?
“Certainly it seems strange for courts to ban kids from driving when they are still below the age where they are legally able to do so.”
A DfT spokesman explained the bans on underage drivers still had a purpose, because the courts could take serious action if they drove while disqualified when the ban was in force.
In addition, serious offences also entailed an 11-year endorsement which would carry through to the driver’s first licence, making them liable to a further ban if they committed other motoring offences.
Click here to read the full Telegraph report.