Over 150,000 motorists caught driving while already banned from the road

9th September 2016

  • Over 150,000 motorists were caught driving while already banned from the road in the last ten years, with over 6,500 motorists caught in 2015 alone
  • Almost 4,000 children aged 17 and under have been disqualified for driving for a second time in the same time frame, while still not old enough to even have a licence
  • The average fine issued by the courts for those prosecuted for driving while already banned was just £247 in 2015

New analysis1 by Churchill Car Insurance reveals 150,115 motorists across England and Wales were caught driving while already disqualified between 2005 and 2015, putting millions of drivers at risk on the road. In the same time period, 3,911 children aged 17 and under were successfully prosecuted for driving while already banned from the road, revealing that some of these drivers were awarded two formal driving disqualifications before they were even legally allowed to get behind the wheel.

The study reveals 6,592 motorists were prosecuted for driving while disqualified in 2015 alone, which equates to around 18 motorists every day. Of these, 87 successful prosecutions were for those aged 17 and under, while a further 386 motorists were aged 18 to 20.

The value of fines for those caught driving while disqualified totalled £3,152,225 between 2005 and 2015. However, in 2015 the average fine issued by the courts for driving while already disqualified was just £247, with 44 per cent of drivers receiving a fine of £150 or less, highlighting that the punishments for this crime are worryingly meagre. In comparison, failure to pay TV licence fees or being caught fly-tipping carry significantly higher fines (up to £1,000* and up to £400** on the spot fine if caught, respectively).

The number of immediate custodial sentences given for driving while banned are also disproportionately low. Of the 6,592 motorists that were prosecuted for driving while banned last year, only 1,754 (27 per cent) were given an immediate custodial sentence.

Steve Barrett, head of car insurance at Churchill, commented: “Disqualification from driving isn’t just a punishment for committing a very serious driving offence, or series of offences; it’s in the interests of all road users and their safety. It is, therefore, both shocking and frightening that thousands of those disqualified from driving still continue to get behind the wheel, putting law-abiding road users at risk.”

“With the average fine for driving while disqualified averaging a mere £247, Churchill believes the penalties should be considerably tougher to serve as real deterrents and ensure the public’s safety.”

Driving while disqualified makes the top five table of reasons why motorists have been disqualified in 2016. Drink-driving comes in at number one, followed by totting up 12 or more penalty points within three years.

Table One: Top five reasons why motorists have been disqualified from driving in 2016

Rank Offence Description
1. Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit
2. To signify a disqualification under totting up procedure
3. Driving or attempting to drive with drug level above the specified limit
4. Driving or attempting to drive then failing to supply a specimen for analysis
5. Driving while disqualified by order of Court

Source: Churchill Car Insurance, 20162

Churchill believes people should not be penalised if they are hit by an uninsured driver, such as a disqualified motorist. Comprehensive policyholders’ no claims discounts are protected and their excess is covered, if, by no fault of their own, an uninsured driver hits their car.

For further information, please contact:

Kia McLean
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 020 7282 1092
E-mail: kia.mclean@citigatedr.co.uk

Chloe French
PR Manager
Direct Line Group
Tel: 01651 831715
Email: chloe.french@directlinegroup.co.uk

Notes to editors:

  1. Figures obtained from a Freedom of Information Request to the Ministry of Justice 27th May 2016
    * http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/detection-and-penalties-top5 opens in a new window, exceptions are in Guernsey where the maximum fine is £2000 and Jersey where it is £500
    ** http://news.sky.com/story/new-on-the-spot-fines-for-fly-tipping-offences-10272305 opens in a new window
  2. Figures obtained from a Freedom of Information Request to the DVLA 27th May 2016

Churchill

Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK’s leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200300 or visiting www.churchill.com