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UK faces “epidemic” of young uninsured drivers

The number of young people convicted of driving without insurance has tripled since 2021, due to sky-rocketing premiums

Car crash

Soaring car insurance premiums have pushed many young people to drive without coverage, resulting in a spike in the number of individuals convicted for driving with no insurance.

That’s how road safety charity IAM RoadSmart interprets the latest police data, which suggests the number of drivers aged 17-20 years old found to be driving without car insurance has risen by as much as 200 per cent since 2021.

With the average cost of insurance for young drivers having risen by as much as 77 per cent in the last year, IAM Road Smart says that the number of IN10 endorsements – the code used by police to label a case of someone driving without insurance – has risen by over a quarter (28%) in 2023 alone. In total, 6,316 17 to 20 year-olds were found to be doing so last year, with another 11,103 cases in the 21 to 24 year-old age category.

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Those found to be driving without any third party risk insurance are liable for a £300 fine and six points on their licence; given that the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act limits those who have only held their licence for two years to a maximum of six penalty points, this could lead to many having their licence revoked.

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IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and standards, Nicholas Lyes, expressed his concern, saying: “[It’s] deeply concerning to see a surge in young drivers breaking the law in this way. Unless there is intervention, we risk an epidemic of uninsured younger motorists taking to the roads.”

“Sadly, this is likely a consequence of the soaring costs of insurance premiums over the last 18 months,” he continued. As mentioned, the price of car insurance has skyrocketed for younger drivers, with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) – which has recently been blasted as “greedy” by critics – admitting that the average cost of car insurance, regardless of driver age, has risen by 34 per cent in the past year.

“Insurance is based on risk and our data shows that the average cost and frequency of claims is higher for younger drivers,” said the ABI’s head of insurance policy, Jonathan Fong. “The average payout for drivers aged between 17-20 was 74% higher than for those aged 46-50 in 2022. Sadly, young drivers are also more likely to be involved in crashes resulting in multiple serious injuries, which could lead to very high insurance payouts.”

In an effort to try and tackle such high premiums, IAM RoadSmart is instead pointing fingers at the government, calling for the removal of insurance premium tax for drivers under 25. “Young drivers are disproportionately paying more tax because insurance premium tax is levied at a standard 12% rate on already costlier premiums, meaning something of a windfall for the Treasury”, Lyes said.

The charity is also repeating cries for the government to back the new Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill, which would introduce a so-called ‘Graduated Drivers Licence’ scheme, something that IAM Road Smart says would  “ensure we have better drivers for tomorrow.”

How much are you paying for your car insurance? Let us know in the comments...

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Consumer reporter

Tom is Auto Express' Consumer reporter, meaning he spends his time investigating the stories that matter to all motorists - enthusiasts or otherwise. An ex-BBC journalist and Multimedia Journalism graduate, Tom previously wrote for partner sites Carbuyer and DrivingElectric and you may also spot him throwing away his dignity by filming videos for the Auto Express social media channels.

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