Nearly 54,000 drivers who received penalty points for motoring offences did so before they were fully qualified to drive, DVLA data has revealed.
A Freedom of Information request and survey by insurance comparison website confused.com found that one third of British motorists have some form of endorsement on their licences, and a fifth of those had received them before passing their driving test.
Currently there are 53,988 provisional licence holders who have been caught committing motoring offences. Of those, the majority (60 per cent) were caught speeding, with a large proportion (43 per cent) prosecuted for jumping red lights.
"Picking up bad habits such as speeding or jumping lights before officially passing your driving test is never a good way to start.”
More worryingly, 33 per cent of learners with points received them for driving without insurance and one in six had got into hot water for driving carelessly.
Ignorance of the law could be to blame for the significant numbers of unqualified drivers being penalised, with 29 per cent of those surveyed unaware that they could receive endorsements on their provisional licence.
And, new drivers were just as unaware of the stricter rules concerning penalty points for newly qualified drivers, with a staggering 40 per cent oblivious to the fact that their licence would be revoked if they accrued six or more points within two years of passing their test.
A proportion of learner drivers felt hard-done-by in receiving points, saying that their co-driver or instructor should be held responsible for the offences committed. 12 per cent of respondents even argued that they should be accepting endorsements on behalf of the learner driver, despite it being illegal for anyone other than the driver to take a penalty.
A DVLA Spokesman said: "We take road safety very seriously and all motorists, including learner drivers, should be aware that if they drive irresponsibly they can be prosecuted. Any penalty points on a provisional licence will be carried over to a driver's full licence after they pass their test. If a driver gets six or more points within two years of passing their test they will lose their licence and need to pass both parts of their test again."
Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at Confused.com said: “We’re aware that people might make mistakes along the way as they learn to drive, however practising road safety is an important part of the process, and picking up bad habits such as speeding or jumping lights before officially passing your driving test is never a good way to start.”
Do you think the standard of testing new drivers is high enough? How would you change the test to improve driver ability? Have your say below.
June 27, 2014