Road Safety News
 

Report examines young adults' driving behaviour

Thursday 15th January 2015

A new report by the RAC Foundation looks at driving behaviour among young adults in a bid to understand the factors associated with a possible trend away from car use.

Since the mid-1990s there has been a decline in car use among young adults, especially among young men. This decrease is associated with a reduction in the proportion of young adults who hold a full driving licence, coupled with a decline in the average annual number of miles driven.

This report, written by professor Ann Berrington from the University of Southampton and Julia Mikolai from the University of Liverpool, examines the individual, household and local area level characteristics associated with driving behaviour in the UK among young adults aged 17-34 years. It uses cross-sectional data from the first two waves of 'Understanding Society - a survey of around 40,000 UK households', to provide insights into changes in the lives of young people and their driving behaviour.

The report found that 65% of males aged 17–34 years and 58% of females aged 17–34 years held a full UK driving licence in 2009–10. The most important predictors of licence-holding among young people are their age, the type of area in which they live, their level of education, income and living arrangements.

Young people living in London are significantly less likely to hold a driving licence than those living in other urban areas, and those living in rural areas are the most likely to hold a licence.

Young people with intermediate (i.e. GCSE) or advanced (i.e. A levels or a degree) education are more likely to hold a licence than those with no qualifications. This educational gradient is far steeper for young women than for men.

Employed young adults are more likely to hold a licence than those who are unemployed or ‘economically inactive’. Additionally, being a full-time student is associated with a lower likelihood of holding a full UK licence among men, but not among women.

Living in the parental home is associated with a slightly lower likelihood of licence-holding for both young men and women.

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Please by no means take this as a critism of any research work that takes place that helps with understanding whats going on out there. However, none of what is here is unexpected. The cost of owning and running a vehicle for young people is high. Those in London do not have parking places but do have good public transport links. Those in rural areas need their own transport to get around to college/work/socialising as there is poor public transport. Those living at home have the parental 'taxi' to rely on. Again far be it for me to 'stereotype' but those at the bottom of the 'educational gradient' and 'economically inactive' probably do drive just not licenced! As far as female students are concerned parents think that their girls are safer off in vehicles so purchase them one before they go off to uni.

As I say, this is not a suprise. Perhaps it may help road safety professionals but more importantly perhaps it could be a lobbying tool for better public transport systems.
Tina. Slough

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