More than 1,000 driving bans were issued last year to young people not legally old enough to be behind the wheel, according to figures obtained by BBC News.
The DVLA statistics, provided to the BBC following a FOI request, reveal that the number of disqualifications handed out to young people aged 16 years and under rose to 1,024 last year.
The 2017 figure is 47% higher than 2014, when 696 driving bans were issued to this age group.
Children as young as 12 years were among those banned in 2017, with 33 disqualifications issued to those aged 13 years and under.
UK courts can impose a driving ban on people who are legally too young to drive – but once they turn 17 years, and when their disqualification period ends, they are then able to drive again.
In these circumstances, the penalty points would still show on the person’s licence and could lead to an increased ban if another offence is committed.
The RAC describes the figures as ‘truly shocking’, describing underage drivers as a ‘frightening danger’ to other road users.
Simon Williams, RAC Insurance spokesman, said: “In this day and age we really shouldn’t be having children driving before they’re allowed to legally.
“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.”