The number of provisional licence holders caught driving without insurance rose by a sixth in 2020, according to analysis by the RAC. The motoring organisation said 14,618 uninsured learners were caught in 2020 – an increase of 16 percent on the number caught in 2018.
A Freedom of Information request to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) showed provisional licence holders accounted for 14 percent of the uninsured drivers recorded in 2020. Shockingly, even more uninsured drivers (15 percent of the total) were caught without a licence of any kind, while 23 of those apprehended were aged just 13.
Of the 105,641 uninsured drivers caught in 2020 (a rise of two percent on 2018’s figures, but down six percent compared with 2019), 121 were 14 years old, while 215 were just 15. The oldest uninsured and unlicensed drivers were 70, while five 68-year-olds were caught driving uninsured while carrying a provisional licence.
However, the vast majority of those who didn’t have valid insurance (38 percent, or around 40,000 people) were full licence holders, while a further 31 percent (33,000) had expired licences. Some 2,182 uninsured drivers held foreign licences, accounting for two percent of those found driving without insurance.
“The fact the number of provisional drivers caught without insurance increased in 2020 may well be a symptom of the onslaught of the pandemic and the impact it had on learning to drive and people’s finances,” said RAC Insurance spokesperson Simon Williams. “The shortage of available driving tests due to Covid is also likely to be a significant factor behind the high numbers.
“We know from RAC research that the ability to drive is vital for so many people, with eight in 10 motorists telling us they would struggle to get by without a car. However, everyone who learns to drive must be properly insured so that in the event they’re involved in an accident they, and other road users, are protected from financial and legal risk.
“Those who drive without a licence are also driving without insurance. Their selfish action puts everyone else on the road – drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians – in both physical and financial danger. Thanks to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau acting as the ‘insurer of last resort’, no one should ever lose out financially after being involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, but every incident they are involved in contributes to the average cost of insurance that every law-abiding driver pays.”