Rising numbers of learner drivers are being caught trying to cheat their tests by hiring lookalikes, according to Government figures.
More than 670 cases of impersonators sitting theory and practical exams have been reported so far in 2014/15, more than a fifth higher than the previous financial year, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said. Andy Rice, the DVSA's head of fraud and integrity, said driving test fraud was putting"innocent road users at risk" and it had "stringent measures" to detect offences.
Figures published by the DVSA following a Freedom of Information request by the Times newspaper have revealed the number of "impersonation investigations" for each financial year over the last decade.
From April to the end of December 2014, there were 677 reported cases, compared with 554 for the whole of 2013/14 and 628 in 2012/13.
Some 188 arrests have been carried out so far in 2014/15, while there were 55 convictions for fraud offences. Thirty seven people have been jailed and 97 driving licences revoked, according to the figures.
The highest number of reported cases in the last 10 years was 816 in 2011/12, but that total could now be surpassed with figures for the last three months of the current financial year still to beadded.
It's been the first priority for generations of teenagers - pass your driving test and get a car. But now soaring costs of motoring are making thousands of young people think again. Malcolm Shaw explains.
Basingstoke based, AA, have reacted to our story today about the rising cost of car insurance for young drivers.
Paul Watters from the AA says black box technology and the recent gender ruling by the European Court of Justice will see insurance premiums come down for young drivers, but policies will remain high.
You've been contacting us on our Facebook, about the high cost of driving. It seems fewer young drivers are getting behind the wheel. Here's some of your thoughts - and, remember, tell us what you think on our Meridian Facebook page.
The high cost of insurance and the economic downturn means fewer young people are taking their driving tests. The numbers have dropped almost a fifth in the past five years.
The Department for Transport says the number of 17 to 19-year olds taking their practical driving tests has gone down 18 per cent since 2007. The number of people in their 20s taking their tests has dropped more than 10 per cent.
Even among young people who have passed their tests, data show the number with access to cars has been waning, while those who do have cars appear to be driving fewer miles each week. The decline has been sharper among young men than young women.
While car insurance prices for 50-somethings have risen 20 per cent since 2010, those for drivers aged between 17 and 22 have soared more than 80 per cent, figures from the AA show
Even youngsters who shop around can now expect to pay more than £1,600 a year on average - but the chances are, they'll pay much more than that.