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Can this happen in the U.S.? A man in the U.K. was driving without a driver’s license for over 50 years. Authorities never knew until just last week. In Derby, England, the 69-year-old man’s licenseless driving came to an end. The Derbyshire Roads Police said it suspects the driver never even took a driver’s test. 

How was the man driving without a license caught?

King Charles in blue vintage Aston Martin
King Charles in his vintage Aston Martin | Getty

BBC News says that when the discovery was made his Hyundai was seized and he was accused of various offenses. Supposedly he has driver’s insurance but only because he claimed to have a driver’s license. But his apprehension wasn’t from a random stop or for a driving violation.

Derbyshire Police say he was bragging about his offenses. “He has systematically provided details to insurance companies indicating that he had a license but the flaw in his dastardly plan was bragging,” it said on Twitter. While insurance was obviously of more importance to the driver, it makes this even more puzzling. Why not just get a license and make it all legal?

Has this happened in the U.K. before?

Queen Elizabeth driving her Range Rover
Queen Elizabeth driving her Range Rover | Getty

The scary thing about this story of driving without a license isn’t even the most recent discovery by the police. An 84-year-old man was recently found without a license or insurance. The police estimate he had been driving this way for over 70 years. 

In the U.S. and other countries, databases cross-reference driver’s licenses, vehicle VIN numbers, and insurance. So without the insurance, or vice-versa, license plates not on the database having one or the other show up on police license plate readers. 

We’ve always thought that merely being able to sign your name practically gets you close to obtaining a driver’s license. While we expect it is a bit harder to come by in the U.K., if you’re clever enough to get away with not having one, you’re smart enough to get one. 

What’s the fine for driving without a driver’s license in the U.S.?

Driving vintage Mini coopers with British flag
U.K drivers | Getty

In many states, driving without a driver’s license is either an infraction or a misdemeanor. For an infraction, the fine is usually around $250. For the more serious misdemeanor, it can run up to $1,000 and up to six months in a county prison. 

But the weird wrinkle in the California Vehicle Code is that you don’t need a driver’s license to register a car there. But you will need one to get car insurance. For driving without car insurance in California, the combined fine with penalties and court costs can run up to $450. Rather than having to know what you do and don’t need to drive, it is much simpler to just get a driver’s license, have car insurance, and keep your car’s registration up to date.


Can You Register a Car Without Insurance?