Data from the DVLA reveals that tens of thousands of learners have been caught breaking the law while only holding a provisional licence, with more than 12,000 already hit with enough points to earn a newly qualified driver a ban.
The figures from the driver licensing agency show that 65,054 learner drivers have points on their provisional licences, with the majority (30,972) having between four and six. Just over 21,000 have between one and three points but a shocking 12,442 have more than seven points.
For any newly qualified driver, six points in the first two years of holding a full licence is enough to be given an automatic ban. However, in most circumstances, learners can accrue up to 12 points before being banned from the roads.
Once they pass their test, they can take to the road but any further offences could see their full licence cancelled and them forced to resit their test.
The figures, obtained by leasing firm Moneyshake, show a clear gender split, with male learners more than four times as likely as females to have broken the law. A total of 52,802 men have points on their provisional licence, compared with 12,252 women.
They also reveal that learners in their 20s are the most common offenders. Among drivers aged 20-29, 26,552 have at least one penalty point, and 21-year-olds are the worst of all, with 3.043 holding points.
Under normal guidelines, six points are enough to earn a new driver a ban, with more experienced motorists disqualified if they accrue 12 or more points in a three-year period. However, DVLA figures show that there are more than 1,2000 drivers with at least 12 points who are still allowed to drive and one repeat offender who has 68 points but hasn’t been banned.
Motoring offences carry points on a scale from 2 to 11. Some have a set number of points - such as traffic sign offences, while others have a sliding scale depending on the severity of the offence, for example speeding. You cannot be given more than 11 points for a single offence.
It is possible to be banned with fewer than 12 points. Some offences, including drink driving and causing a death, carry mandatory bans while others come with the threat of a discretionary ban.
Depending on the length of the ban and the offence you commit you may have to resit the driving test or take an extended test before regaining your licence.