WHEN you mention lookalikes, a celebrity double livening up a party or a politician’s vision in a comedy sketch may spring to mind.
But it seems rising numbers of learner drivers are relying on their lookalikes to cheat their way through their driving tests.
More than 670 impersonators were caught sitting theory and practical exams so far in 2014/15, more than a fifth higher than the previous financial year, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said.
The DVSA’s head of fraud and integrity, Andy Rice, said driving test fraud was putting “innocent road users at risk” and it had “stringent measures” to detect offences. From April to the end of December 2014, there were 677 reported cases of “impersonation investigations”, compared with 554 for the whole of 2013/14 and 628 in 2012/13, figures released through use of the Freedom of Information Act revealed.
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.
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 be added.
Mr Rice said: “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.
“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. Thankfully this type of crime is extremely rare.”
In November the Government announced that the dreaded three point turn could become a thing of the past in the biggest shake up of the driving test in 20 years.
Learners may also be asked to use a satellite navigation system as part of a revised practical exam, designed to “better reflect real-life driving”.
The DVSA is currently carrying out initial research and any changes would go before a public consultation.