17/01/2017 11:34 GMT

Driving Test Fraud Sees Dozens Of Learners Hire Impersonators Each Year, New Figures Reveal

Motoring experts say the practice 'puts everyone's lives at risk'.

More than 40 learner drivers are caught paying people to take their tests for them every year, new figures show. 

Between 2012/13 and 2016/17, there were 209 people convicted for paying an impersonator, according to data published by Transport Minister Andrew Jones. 

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, told the Press Association the practice “puts everyone’s lives at risk”.  

LEON NEAL via Getty Images
Figures from transport minister Andrew Jones revealed the extent of the problem

“Neither we nor they have any idea whether their driving meets the required standard,” Gooding said. 

“Our strong road safety record is built on three pillars - roadworthy vehicles, responsibly driven by properly qualified drivers. This sort of behaviour is flagrantly kicking one of those pillars away,” he added. 

Around 1.9 million theory tests and 1.5 million practical tests are taken each year in the UK. 

But with less than half of learners passing first time in 2015/16, Gooding added it was easy to see why some people would be tempted by “guaranteed” success. 

Over the last five years, more than 1,100 licences have been revoked due to evidence that they were obtained fraudulently.

A further 111 people were convicted of taking the practical or theory tests on behalf of others. 

fizkes via Getty Images
Since 2009, more than 200 people have been convicted of hiring an impersonator to take their driving test 

In September 2016 a man was given a two-year prison sentence at Croydon Crown Court after taking a series of car, motorcycle and lorry theory tests on behalf of other people. 

According to Jones, the majority of investigations into impersonation are conducted by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) until there is enough evidence to support an arrest and prosecution.

Andy Rice, head of counter-fraud and investigations at the DVSA, said: “The driving test is there to ensure that all drivers have the skills and knowledge to use the roads safely and responsibly.

“Anyone who tries to circumvent this process is putting innocent road users at risk.

“Driving test fraud is a serious offence and is dealt with accordingly. We have stringent measures in place to detect fraudulent activity and work closely with the police to bring all offenders to justice.

“Thankfully, this type of crime is extremely rare.”