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Provisional licence holders caught without insurance increases

UK driving licence

The number of provisional driving licence holders caught behind the wheel without insurance increased by 16% to 14,618 in 2020, compared to two years earlier, according to new data seen by RAC Insurance.

A Freedom of Information request to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) showed that provisional licence holders accounted for 14% of the 105,641 uninsured drivers recorded in 2020 – 2% more than in both 2018 and 2019.

As many as 15,933 people (15% of all those uninsured) found to be without insurance did not even have a licence.

The data also reveals 23 were aged just 13 years old, 121 were 14 years old and 215 were aged 15. The oldest uninsured non-licence holders were 70.

There were also five 68-year-olds with provisional licences who were found not to be insured.

RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams says the increase may be a symptom of the impact the pandemic had on learning to drive and people’s finances.

“The shortage of available driving tests due to Covid is also likely to be a significant factor behind the high numbers,” he said.

“It’s also the case that younger drivers, who are more likely to have provisional licences, pay a disproportionate amount of tax when they buy car insurance which makes their already expensive policies even harder to afford.”

The vast majority of those who didn’t have valid insurance (39,894 – 38% of all those uninsured) were full licence holders. This was 11% down on 2018 when there were 44,705 drivers (41%).

A further 33,015 (31% of all those uninsured) had expired licences – this is a 4% increase on 2018.

Some 2,182 uninsured drivers held non-GB licences – 9% more than the 2,011 recorded in 2018, but still only 2% of all those without insurance.

In the midst of the world’s fight against coronavirus, there were just 6% fewer uninsured drivers in 2020 than there were the year before – 105,641 compared to 112,557 in 2019. This was only 2% lower than in 2018 (108,248).

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