The DVLA has told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat that nearly 50% of drivers banned since October 2008 have not re-taken their driving test.

It is against the law to start driving again if you are banned within the first 2 years of driving – unless you have re-sat and passed a driving test. This is a fact not known by many people when they receive their driving licence back from the courts.

This means that many young people, in particular, are driving again illegally, which is a great concern to Road Safety Groups.

Edmund King from the AA said, “It’s naive to think that all these drivers just disappear and jump on the bus, they don’t, many of them are still driving”.

Edmund continued, “I think this is a major problem, but perhaps it’s a problem that the authorities aren’t really aware about”.

Stuart Vaughan from Driving School Lessons, the driving instructor franchise specialist, said “It would make more sense for the courts to send banned drivers an advice letter, rather than their driving licence, informing them of the need to re-sit and pass their driving test”. “Their driving licence could then be sent once they had proved they had passed their test.”

The Department of Transport said there were no excuses for anyone to be driving without a valid license and those who did would face tough penalties.