Almost 1000 children were caught driving without a licence in 2014, new research has revealed.
A Freedom of Information request on behalf of the RAC has revealed that 991 drivers under 17 were caught driving on public roads in 2014 - a rise of 21% on 2012’s statistics.
The youngest driver to be caught was an 11-year-old boy. The youngest girl to be caught was 12. The figures show that the problem of underage driving is a male-dominated one, with 961 boys being convicted, compared with just 30 girls.
Among motorists who do hold full driving licences, men are more than three times more likely to be convicted of driving without insurance than women.
Convictions among men over 65 rose by 23%, from 809 convictions in 2012 to 991 in 2014, with the oldest man convicted being 94.
RAC insurance director Mark Godfrey 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.”
Godfrey also notes these figures are only “the tip of the iceberg”, because the insurance industry estimates there could be as many as one million uninsured drivers on the roads.