In the last six years, more than 6,500 young people under the age of 18 years have been caught driving while intoxicated, according to FOI data obtained by the in-car camera provider, Nextbase.
The data from UK police forces revealed that an average of 1,000 under-age children have been caught and charged with drink-driving offences each year since 2008. More than a quarter (26%) of these were aged 16 years or younger, and as such uninsured.
The data also shows that there have been underage drink drivers as young as 11 and 12 years old. An 11 year-old offender was caught in the Thames Valley area in 2011, while 12-year-olds have been apprehended in Scotland (2012) and Manchester (2008).
The most severely affected region in the UK for under-age drink driving was Greater Manchester, where 409 under-18s have been arrested for drink driving offences in the past six years. Other hotspots included rural areas such as Hampshire (276 offenders), Devon and Cornwall (241), and Sussex (160). Scotland also has a disproportionate number of underage convictions by population size, with 718 offenders since 2008.
While the overall number of underage drink driving incidents has fallen year-on-year, in some areas – including South Yorkshire, Northumbria, Thames Valley, Kent, North Yorkshire, West Mercia, Staffordshire, South Wales, Cheshire and Cambridgeshire – there was an increase from 2012 to 2013.
Merseyside, Devon and Cornwall saw the greatest fall in offending in the same period.
Bryn Brooker, spokesperson for Nextbase, said: "Our findings show that underage drink-driving is not an isolated problem, but occurs nationwide. Every police force in the UK has apprehended under-18 drunk-drivers in the past six years.”