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Do Penalties For Underage Drivers Need To Be Revisited?

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The minimum driving age in the UK is currently 17. When a child reaches that age, he or she can begin training in preparation for passing a practical skills test. Nonetheless, what happens if someone under the age of 17 is caught driving illegally? The courts may ban him or her from driving in the future. Sounds reasonable, right? Yet there is a problem with the way the law is currently implemented.

Let us assume a 15-year-old is caught illegally driving. If the offence for which he was initially pulled over is something minor such as careless driving, he may get a one-year ban from the court. However, that one-year ban is instituted at the time of conviction. It does no good because the child is not legally eligible to drive anyway. Would it not be better to hold off on implementing the ban until the child turns 17?

Steve Barrett of Churchill Car Insurance thinks so. His company recently released the results of research that shows that 725 children under 17 were disqualified last year for driving under age. Dozens more children have been prosecuted this year for driving illegally. Furthermore, more than 900 children have been repeatedly prosecuted for multiple driving offences over the years, clearly demonstrating that banning children from driving who are already too young to drive is not helping.

 

A Clear Safety Issue

It is obvious to say that children under the age of 17 driving illegally are a risk to everyone else on the road. Their lack of experience and physical and mental maturity makes them dangerous even under the best conditions. Nevertheless, when you add to that additional risky behaviours such as drink driving, the already dangerous behaviour becomes potentially deadly.


Officials from the Brake charity say that part of the problem may be linked to peer pressure among kids to begin driving as early as possible. They advocate waiting, claiming that people are safer the longer they wait to learn to drive. Like Churchill, they advocate for any penalties issued to underage drivers not being implemented until those drivers are old enough to legally be behind the wheel. Otherwise, the penalties have no real teeth.

Driving Always Risky

If nothing else, the Churchill research reminds us just how dangerous driving is. One never knows who is behind the wheels of each of the cars on the road, and we all depend on one another to maintain safety. The need for safety is one of the reasons Fleet Licence Check offers multiple levels of licence checking services to our clients. Our licence checks provide valuable information about points, convictions, endorsements, revocations, serious offences, and more. We believe keeping track of your drivers is a vital part of protecting your business.

We cannot do anything about underage drivers in the UK. However, we can help you by providing the information you need to ensure all of your drivers are qualified and legally able to continue driving.

Sources:

1.Express – http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/597175/Banned-reckless-boy-racers-too-young-to-drive

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