The campaign for raising the driving age to 18 has been boosted by the news that a much higher number of teenagers are driving or being driven in cars that are untaxed, uninsured and unroadworthy than previously thought.

And according to, one in three young motorists has been with a driver who was either drunk or on drugs. The figures from road safety campaigners Brake have been revealed as part of national Road Safety week.

Brake said it was "an outrage" that ministers were not taking the issue seriously, despite road crashes now being the single biggest killer of young people in the UK.

Last year, 846 drivers, passengers and motorcyclists between the ages of 15 and 25 died and a further 7362 were seriously injured and 62,146 slightly hurt. Only one in eight licence holders are under 25, yet one in three of those who die are in that age group, while a quarter of convictions for causing death by dangerous driving are against under-21s.

The survey of more than 4000 people in that age group showed that a third have driven without a licence, one in 14 has driven a stolen vehicle, and one in six has been a passenger with a driver they knew was unlicensed, uninsured, or had stolen the car.

Brake wants a system of "graduated" driver licensing already used in New Zealand, which would mean a minimum period of learning, followed by a provisional licence period where new drivers had restrictions placed on them, such as curfews and limits on passenger numbers.