A boy aged just nine was apprehended in Cumbria this week for driving offences. The boy, who is too young to be prosecuted by the police for a criminal offence, was arrested in Cumbria for being drunk behind the wheel. The shocking fact is that the boy is only one of hundreds of underage drivers who commit offences on the roads of the UK every week.
He was breathalysed at the scene and when he failed the test was then taken to the police station where stunned officers discovered his age was just nine, which means he is not old enough to be held accountable for his actions. What is just as alarming is the fact the he is just one of over 2000 juveniles arrested for crimes which include car theft and drink driving in Cumbria during the last two years. Sadly the problem is not restricted to Cumbria alone, as arrests are made throughout the United Kingdom. The figures have stunned safety campaigners who say better teaching of road safety awareness should be made a priority.
Kath Hartley, from the Brake charity, said “It’s incredibly concerning that young people many of whom will have had no formal driving tuition, are risking their own and other’s lives on our roads. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency. It is a clear example of why we need road safety education as part of the National Curriculum. Youngsters who are not old enough to get a car insurance quote must be taught the dangers of getting behind the wheel without proper training.”
However, police have stressed that these figures, alarming as they are, form only part of the overall picture. There were less vehicle crimes last year compared to the previous year and juvenile offences, where a vehicle was involved, was also down. The police are also working closely with road safety organisations to educate the young about the dangers encountered on the roads.