Nearly 1,000 children were convicted of driving with no insurance in 2014, a rise of more than a fifth (21 percent) since 2012, according to a Freedom of Information request made by the RAC to the DVLA.

In 2014, 991 under 17s were caught driving on public roads without insurance, a rise of 169 over just two years – despite these individuals not even being old enough to hold a licence. And the problem is a male-dominated one, with 32 times as many convictions in 2014 of boys (961) as girls (30).

The youngest child convicted of driving without insurance was an 11-year-old boy, whereas the youngest female was a girl aged 12. Twelve boys aged 12 were convicted in contrast to just one 12-year-old girl and there were 27 boys aged 13, compared to just one girl.

Non-licence holders
Among drivers of all ages who did not hold valid driving licences and were caught without insurance, the conviction rate has also remained stubbornly high – rising 6 percent from 14,466 in 2012 to 15,307 in 2014. In total – taking in full, provisional and non-licenced holders – 100,323 people were convicted in 2014, which is a 6% reduction compared to 106,233 in 2012.

Full licence holders
Even among those motorists holding full licences, men are three and a half times more likely to be convicted of driving without a valid insurance policy than women: in 2014, there was a total of 45,838 male convictions, compared to just 12,879 female convictions. However, there was a 9 percent fall in the total number of convictions among men that hold full driving licences – from 50,454 in 2012 to 45,838 in 2014.

Male full licence holders 65 and over
Some of the largest rises in convictions were among male full licence holders aged 65 and over; in this age group, convictions rose 23 percent from 809 (2012) to 992 (2014). Convictions involving women of the same age group grew 19 percent from 148 to 176 cases.

The oldest man holding a full licence and convicted of driving with no insurance in 2014 was aged 94, while the two oldest women were aged 88.

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “In trying to discover how many people have been convicted of driving without insurance, we found there is a shocking number of children who are caught driving before they’re even old enough to apply for a provisional licence, let alone have proper instruction.

“Sadly, we may have little choice but to accept there will always be a minority of young males who will be prepared to drive without a licence or insurance. The fact that the number convicted has remained so high suggests a greater focus is needed to work with this group, so they understand better the risks and potential consequences of their actions.

“It also continues to be the case that men, and indeed boys, are far more likely to be convicted of driving without insurance than women or girls.”

“But what is especially worrying is that these figures are really only the tip of the iceberg as the insurance industry estimates there are in the region of one million uninsured drivers on the road. This means only a tenth of drivers thought to be breaking the law in this way have been caught.”