‘Children’ driving bans top 1,000 in 2017

14.08 | 15 February 2018 | | 5 comments

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.”


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    If you think it’s possible to influence them all on how to ‘use the roads considerately and how to handle bikes and cars and how to fully respect other road users’ for life Charles, then influencing them not to buy ‘a cheap defeat device in school playgrounds, on the internet, in the pub’ and other anti-social behaviour, should be a doddle.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

    Hugh, that assumes that a once-in-a-lifetime-test and the ability to avoid detection of any offences once you reach eleven points on your licence is all it would take to be a good driver.

    And besides, how long do you think it would be between the introduction of such a scheme (which would require expensive modifications to 30-million plus vehicles) and the availability of a cheap defeat device in school playgrounds, on the internet, in the pub, etc?

    Better I think, to catch all youngsters while they are still impressionable (i.e. before adolescence ruins the chances of convincing them they *don’t* know best) and teach them how to use the roads considerately and how to handle bikes and cars and how to fully respect other road users.

    Charles, England
    Agree (4) | Disagree (3)

    I would imagine it’s not beyond the bounds of technology for a fingerprint reader to be on the dashboard of vehicles, so only those which the system says have a valid driving license (and the ignition key obviously) would be able to start the vehicle.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (6) | Disagree (2)

    What on earth is the point of disqualifying a child for driving when by virtue of their age they are not qualified for driving? It is utterly meaningless for a 13 year old to be disqualified for two years only for that period to be served when he/she reaches 15 – the ban needs to start from the age at which they’d be able to apply for a licence.

    Charles suggests that we do away with archaic licences and let all and sundry drive. I would ask whether he has experienced road safety in countries where the driving test is so simple that the system has in practice deteriorated to that level? I suggest that we enhance the status of licences by making them even harder to gain, and fund the Police to more effectively enable them to monitor those who choose to drive without a licence.

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (12) | Disagree (2)

    The driving licence is yet another archaic, discriminatory, non-inclusionist, elitist, totally unfair and unworkable system, like compulsory motor insurance – devised at the dawn of mass motoring. It might have seemed like a reasonable idea in the inter-war years eighty-odd years ago, but is now also well passed its sell-by date. We know full well that many people drive without having passed a test and that many, if not most, banned drivers drive anyway, so what is the actual point of them? If we adopted a universal accident insurance system, and gave all children compulsory road use tuition (including driving) at school, we would have safer roads, less work for the law enforcers, less pointless bureaucracy and less unnecessary expense.

    Charles, England
    Agree (6) | Disagree (25)

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