Safety: Rise In Learner Drivers Paying Lookalikes To Sit Test
Authorities Investigate Hundreds Of Fraud Cases
The number of learner drivers putting lives at risk by paying lookalikes to take the practical or theory test on their behalf has risen a fifth in 2014/15, the Times reports.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency - in 2014/15 with several months remaining - has investigated 677 alleged offences compared to 554 for the previous financial year.
The Agency's investigations have led to 188 arrests, 55 convictions and 37 custodial sentences. 97 people had their licences revoked and been banned from the road.
The Head of the Anti-Fraud Department, Andy Rice, told the Times that criminal gangs charge up to £1,800 to find a lookalike to sit the practical and about £800 for the theory.
A learner might pay for a lookalike if he or she is incapable of passing the test, or not willing to put in the effort required to meet the standard. This has safety implications.
Mr Rice explains: "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”.
The increasing number of fraud detections could be attributed to better enforcement rather than an increase in criminal activity, Mr Rice says. Examiners and staff working in driving test centres have recently received more training to identify potential impostors.
He added “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”.