DVLA data obtained by RAC Insurance reveals the numbers of uninsured drivers rose during the Covid lockdown of 2020
More than 350 children were caught behind the wheel of a car during the first year of the pandemic - with 23 of them aged just 13.
Figures seen by RAC Insurance about the number of uninsured drivers caught in 2020 reveals that 359 of them weren't even old enough to hold a provisional driving licence.
There were 105,641 uninsured drivers recorded in 2020 according to information obtained in a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA.
The number of learner drivers caught behind the wheel without insurance jumped significantly compared to the year before - increasing by 16% in 2020 to 14,618 - with the shortage of available tests for provisional drivers thought to have contributed to the sudden rise in numbers.
While the vast majority of those caught without insurance did have a full driving licence, among those found to be breaking the law were 15,933 people without a policy and any licence at all.
Worse still - the data reveals that 23 of them were found to be just 13 years-old, while 121 of those caught driving an uninsured car were only 14 and 215 15-year-olds were caught behind the wheel of a car without insurance - alongside not being old enough to any licence to drive at all.
Albeit this is not as bad as the previous year, says the motoring organisation, when in 2019, nine 12-year-olds were reportedly caught at the wheel.
The oldest uninsured non-licence holders, according to the DVLA statistics, were aged 70 while there were also five 68-year-olds driving with provisional licences who also had no insurance.
Overall, in the midst of the world’s fight against coronavirus, there were 6% fewer uninsured drivers in 2020 than there were the year before when the figure was just over 112,000.
RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said: "The fact the number of provisional drivers caught without insurance increased in 2020 may well be a symptom of the onslaught of the pandemic and the impact it 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.
"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. Insurance Premium Tax at the current rate of 12% adds a huge £120 to a young driver’s £1,000 annual policy which may be further reason why more so many decide to run the gauntlet of driving with no insurance.
"We know from RAC research that the ability to drive is vital for so many people, with eight in 10 motorists telling us they would struggle to get by without a car. However, everyone who learns to drive must be properly insured so that in the event they’re involved in an accident they, and other road users, are protected from financial and legal risk."
The penalties for driving without insurance range from a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on a driving licence, up to an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving if a case goes to court.
The police also have the power to seize and potentially destroy uninsured vehicles in any case.