- More than a fifth of motoring offenders (22%) received penalty points before they had officially passed their test
- FOI data obtained from the DVLA reveals nearly 54,000 provisional licence holders currently have valid penalty points on their licence1
- Of those learner drivers to receive penalty points for a motoring offence, the majority were caught speeding (60%)
- Nearly 3 in 10 motorists (29%) were unaware that they could get penalty points before officially passing their test
There are currently nearly 54,000 motorists in the UK who have penalty points on their provisional licence, according to new research from Confused.com.
The findings obtained from the DVLA reveal that learner drivers are racking up penalty points for motoring offences before officially passing their driving test. According to official figures, there are currently 53,988 provisional licence holders with valid penalty points on their licence, meaning they have committed a motoring offence whilst still learning to drive.
Further research from the leading price comparison site reveals that more than a third of UK drivers (36%) have received penalty points at some point for a motoring offence. Of these offenders, more than a fifth (22%) accumulated these points before they had officially passed their driving test.
Of those learner drivers to receive penalty points for a motoring offence, the majority were caught speeding (60%), followed by jumping a red light (43%). Nearly a third of learner drivers who have received penalty points (33%) were caught driving without insurance, while one in six (15%) were charged with driving carelessly.
Despite many motorists being charged with driving offences whilst still on a provisional licence, nearly 3 in 10 (29%) were unaware that they could even get penalty points before officially passing their driving test. A further 40% of drivers were oblivious to the fact that if they reached six or more penalty points in the first two years of passing their test, their licence would be revoked.
Worryingly, more than a quarter of motorists (28%) admit that they didn’t feel confident at all when learning to drive, which poses the question as to whether learner drivers should be held fully responsible for any offences occurred whilst learning to drive, or if a certain amount of onus sits with the person overseeing their tuition.
The research reveals that a third of people (33%) believe that the co-driver or driving instructor should be held responsible for any motoring offences committed by a learner driver, more than one in 10 (12%) arguing that they should also take the points for the learner.
However, it is illegal for anyone other than the driver to take the penalty points or conviction on their behalf. The law is clear that if a motoring offence is committed then the driver is liable for any penalty, such as points on their licence or attending an awareness course, even if they are a learner.
According to the findings, one in six (17%) people think learner drivers should face more difficult theory tests before being allowed on the roads, to make them safer and more aware of the rules of the road.
Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at Confused.com comments:
“We’re aware that people might make mistakes along the way as they learn to drive, however practising road safety is an important part of the process, and picking up bad habits such as speeding or jumping lights before officially passing your driving test is never a good way to start.
“It’s concerning that a considerable number of motorists were unaware that they could get penalty points on their licence before officially passing their test. Not only could these points contribute to their licence being revoked if they accumulate six points in any way within the first two years of driving, but they could also lead to increased insurance premiums when they are able to get back behind the wheel.”