Information obtained by the RAC shows that nearly 1,000 children were convicted of driving without insurance in 2014, a rise of 21% since 2012.
The result of an FOI request to the DVLA, the information shows that in 2014, 991 under 17s were caught driving on public roads without insurance – 961 of whom were boys, and just 30 girls.
The RAC describes the figures as ‘shocking’ and is calling for a ‘greater focus’ to address the issue.
The youngest child convicted was an 11-year-old boy, while the youngest female was a girl aged 12 years. Twelve boys aged 12 years were convicted in contrast to just one 12-year-old girl, and there were 27 boys aged 13 years, compared to just one girl.
Mark Godfrey, RAC insurance director, said: “In trying to discover how many people have been convicted of driving without insurance, we found there is a shocking number of children who are caught driving before they’re even old enough to apply for a provisional licence, let alone have proper instruction.
“Sadly, we may have little choice but to accept there will always be a minority of young males who will be prepared to drive without a licence or insurance. The fact that the number convicted has remained so high suggests a greater focus is needed to work with this group, so they understand better the risks and potential consequences of their actions.
“It also continues to be the case that men, and indeed boys, are far more likely to be convicted of driving without insurance than women or girls.”
The FOI request also highlighted that among full licence holders, men are three and a half times more likely to be convicted of driving without valid insurance than women. In 2014, there was a total of 45,838 male convictions, compared to just 12,879 female convictions.
The data also indicates an increasing problem with older drivers. Some of the largest rises in convictions were among male full licence holders aged 65 years and over. In this age group, the number of convictions rose 23% from 809 (2012) to 992 (2014). Convictions involving women in the same age group increased by 19% from 148 to 176 cases.
Mark Godfrey added: “What is especially worrying is that these figures are really only the tip of the iceberg as the insurance industry estimates there are in the region of one million uninsured drivers on the road. This means only a tenth of drivers thought to be breaking the law in this way have been caught.
“Insurance is a mandatory driving requirement for good reason; it’s there to protect drivers, as well as their passengers and other road users and property owners. Anyone who drives without insurance is not only breaking the law, they are also selfishly putting others, as well as themselves, at financial and legal risk.”