One in five drivers with penalty points got them before they passed.
Learner drivers are at greater risk of losing their licences as thousands already have penalty points before they pass
Thousands of learner drivers already have penalty points for speeding and going through red lights before they pass their test, new figures show.
A third of people believe driving instructors or the person accompanying learners should be responsible if learners are penalised, while more than one in ten believe that they should take the points - despite this being illegal.
Almost 54,000 people with provisional licences currently have penalty points on their licence with the majority being for driving too fast, a Freedom of Information request revealed.
Other learners have received penalty points for not having any insurance or driving carelessly.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said: "It is incredibly shocking that so many new drivers are accumulating points especially before officially passing their test. The one positive aspect is that bad driving is being spotted and prosecuted."
Data from the DVLA revealed 53,988 learners with provisional licences currently have penalty points, and research by confused.com found 60 per cent of these are for speeding.
A further 43 per cent were for jumping a red light.
Gemma Stanbury of Confused.com said: “We’re aware that people might make mistakes along the way as they learn to drive, however practising road safety is an important part of the process, and picking up bad habits such as speeding or jumping lights before officially passing your driving test is never a good way to start.”
One in three people do not realise they can get points while learning to drive and 40 per cent did not realise that if they accumulate six points in their first two years of driving they will lose their licence.
More than a third of all drivers in the UK have received penalty points at some stage and 22 per cent of these admitted they had incurred penalties before they had passed their test.
Following the findings, 17 per cent of people said theory tests should be made tougher to make the roads safer and make learners more aware of the rules.
Last year the Telegraph revealed that 8,000 drivers are still on the roads despite having accumulated 12 points over a three year period - the point that makes them eligible for a driving ban. Of these the worst offender was a woman from west London who had accumulated 42 points.
Contrary to an earlier version of this report, the position is that one in five drivers that have penalty points got them when they were learners – not that one in five of all learners have penalty points.