Number of underage drivers crashing at four-year high

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The number of underage car drivers involved in crashes on Britain’s roads has reached the highest level in four years, according to latest figures.

Ninety-one boys and girls under 17 years old were behind the wheel during accidents last year, according to Press Association analysis of Department for Transport data.

It represents a 30% spike compared with the previous year, and is the most since 103 were recorded in 2011.

Separate analysis by motoring research charity the RAC Foundation found that over half (49) of the underage drivers involved in crashes last year were injured, including one who was killed and 11 seriously hurt.

The accidents also resulted in 48 passenger and pedestrian casualties, including two who were killed and eight seriously injured.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “Anyone who thinks of driving below the legal age limit as joy riding should think again.

“Not only are underage drivers a massive risk to themselves, last year they also caused the death or injury of at least 48 other people.

“That’s an unacceptable human toll for those directly involved, while the resulting financial costs then fall on motorists legally on the roads through having to meet higher insurance premiums.”

AA president Edmund King warned that those involved should only be driving in computer games or at specialist off-road centres.

“These children should be playing Gran Turismo or attending under-17s car clubs rather than crashing illegally on the real highway,” he said.

“A proportion are likely to be involved in car crime and others may have chanced taking their parents’ car for a spin.

“Either way, they are breaking the law and putting their own and other lives at risk.”

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