New analysis of DVLA data has led the RAC to question whether the cost of learning to drive is ‘proving prohibitive’ for young people.
The RAC Black Box Car Insurance analysis, published on 29 July, shows that while the number of 17-24 year-olds with a provisional driving licence has increased by 8% over the last four years, there has been a 6% fall in those with a full licence.
Among teenage drivers (17-19 year-olds), the number of provisional licence holders was up 10% over the same period, while the number of fully qualified drivers was down 8%.
Simon Williams, RAC Black Box Car Insurance spokesman, says that the cost of lessons – and the number required to reach the necessary skill level to take the test – has ‘presumably played a part in this’.
In addition, driving test data for the last four years shows there has been a 13% decline in the number of tests taken, as well as the number passed.
Looking at the data from 2007, the RAC analysis shows that the drop in the number of tests taken increases to 29%. The pass rate of 47% has not changed in the last four years, but has improved from 2007 (44%).
Simon Williams, RAC Black Box Car Insurance spokesman, said: “Learning to drive is a key step towards personal freedom and the figures very clearly demonstrate there is a desire for young people to embark on that journey.
“Surprisingly, figures show both an overall drop in the number of people of all ages taking the test and a fall in the number of young people who are fully qualified drivers. This implies that an increasing number are not going on to take and pass their driving tests, and are therefore remaining as provisional licence holders.
“The cost of lessons and the number required to reach the necessary skill level to take the test has presumably played a part in this. With driving lessons now costing around £25 an hour and students possibly requiring 20 to 30 at a cost of approximately £500 to £750 it clearly can be a very expensive rite of passage.
“And then once new drivers qualify to drive on their own they somehow have to foot their car insurance bills of usually around £1,000 or higher. But while this is clearly not very appealing it would seem unlikely that it is putting young drivers off taking their tests.”