New research from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency reveals that the number of young people caught cheating their way through their driving theory test has more than trebled in the last 5 years. Figures released from the DVSA's fraud department indicated that just 454 cases were logged between 2013-14, five years later and the figures reveal an entirely different story.
Shockingly, more than a 1,000 learner drivers were suspected of cheating between April-September of this year alone. With figures continuing to rise, estimates suggest that, at this rate, almost 2,500 people could be reprimanded for trying to cheat their way through the test by the end of the financial year! This sharp rise follows the DVSA’s decision to crack down on fraudsters and investigate prosecutions for theory test fraud internally. Previously, the DVSA had to rely on independent investigators and the Crown Prosecution Service to bring cases to court, but now has the power to sanction those found cheating.
Currently, driving theory tests consist of 50 multiple choice questions and a selection of hazard perception videos. To successfully pass the test, drivers must answer 43 out of the 50 questions correctly and identify a minimum of 44 hazards out of the 75 that appear in the hazard perception clips.
So how do fraudsters cheat the system? There are a number of methods employed by youngsters intending to cheat; one of which involves candidates using hidden Bluetooth headsets in which they can quietly read the questions and receive answers from an external accomplice. Another method will see candidates go to the extreme measure of finding someone that is well versed in the test questions and have this person impersonate them. However, both methods come at a cost and will usually see the accomplice gain financially, with leaners paying anywhere between £800 - £1,600 for someone to take their place and impersonate them.
Although the number of fraudulent theory test cases is small in comparison to the 1.8million driving exams sat each year, there are a number of measures taken by the DVSA to ensure that those sitting the test aren’t trying to cheat. The use of CCTV cameras that monitor the examination rooms, allow trained investigators to oversee the live footage and assess behaviour, looking out for any tell-tale signs of fraudulent activity such as people fiddling with headsets hidden in their ears. Learner drivers caught cheating on their driving tests could not only be faced with driving bans and heavy fines but may even end up with a prison sentence if their case ends up in court!
With figures for the number of people cheating their way through driving theory tests dramatically rising year on year, do the methods of obtaining a licence fraudulently outweigh the risks? Doing so could not only see you paying out hundreds of pounds to accomplices or impersonators, but being caught could see you fined, banned from driving or even facing jail time, not to mention potentially putting other road users in danger should learners actually succeed in cheating the system! Are the consequences really worth it? We think not.
Let us know your thoughts via our social media channels.
Other CarCliq articles that might interest you:
For more CarCliq News, click here.