66 children convicted of dangerous driving in 2015 – despite not being legally old enough to even apply for a licence
A minor convicted of causing death by dangerous driving
Children aged under 17 disqualified from driving increasing year-on-year
Call for urgent review of deterrents for under aged driving
New analysis by Churchill Car Insurance reveals at least one child a week was prosecuted for dangerous driving in 2015, with at least 66 minors convicted. Children under the age of 17 despite not legally old enough to even apply for their driving licence have also been successfully prosecuted for drink and drug driving.
In 2015, at least 12 children were convicted of DR10, ‘driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above the permitted limit,’ offences and four were prosecuted for a DR30 ‘driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis.’
In 2015 a child under the age of 17 was prosecuted and convicted having been found with drugs in their system. The DG10 offence has only been in force since 2nd March 2015 and makes it an offence to drive or attempt to drive with a drug level above a specified limit. Seventeen legal and illegal drugs are covered by the law, including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.
The grim reality of children getting behind the wheel illegally is reinforced by the conviction of a minor in 2015 for causing death by dangerous driving. In the last three years, minors have also been convicted of CD80 ‘causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving’ and CD90 – ‘causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers’ offences.
Steve Barrett, head of Car Insurance at Churchill Insurance, said: “While the volumes of offences concerning underage and under the influence drivers are low, the impact on the victims and their families involved in accidents with these drivers is immeasurable. Highlighting these frightening statistics will hopefully act as a catalyst for the government and educators to address this issue as a matter of urgency.”
While the number of convictions for those aged under 17 is low, the seriousness of the offences will call into question whether the deterrents and punishments in place are sufficient. Increasing numbers of children under the age of 17 are being disqualified from driving before they are even legally old enough to get behind the wheel. Analysis of disqualifications in the first half of 2015 revealed driving disqualifications were up five per cent from the same period in 2013 for those under 17.
Churchill’s analysis also reveals that hundreds of children under the age of 17 are committing multiple driving offences. Almost 1,000 (923) underage ‘drivers’ have been prosecuted more than once for driving offences, with children as young as 12 convicted multiple times. One child aged 16 has already been prosecuted 15 times for driving offences.
Even if minors drive cars illegally on the road they may still be able to secure a driving licence when they turn 17, much like any other young driver. Bans for underage ‘drivers’ often start from the date of conviction and could therefore have expired by the time the offender reaches 17, though endorsements will still be listed on any licence issued.