Number of young drivers on roads falls by 250k in a year with fewer than 3m 18 to 25-year-olds now holding licence as motoring costs soar and Covid cancels tests
- Figures from the DVLA show just 2.95million people aged 18 to 25 hold a licence
- This is down from 3.24million 18 to 25 year olds who had a licence in March 2020
- Experts have cited the pandemic and the rising cost of driving for young people
The number of young people learning to drive has plummeted with the rising cost of driving and the pandemic deterring people from getting behind the wheel.
The latest figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has revealed that just 2.95 million people in Britain aged 18 to 25 hold a full driving licence.
The total is down from 3.24 million in March 2020, and is the smallest in records dating back to November 2012 when there were 3.34 million.
The number of young people obtaining a driving licences has dropped during the pandemic
The pandemic has been cited as one of the main reasons the number of young drivers has dropped as well as the increased cost of driving.
Dr Kiron Chatterjee, associate professor in travel behaviour at the Centre for Transport Sustainability told the Telegraph: ‘Reduced affordability to travel – lower incomes, higher transport costs – and less need to travel because of digital connections are the main explanations.’
Research from Local Driving School found that the UK’s most popular car – the Ford Fiesta – will cost young drivers who have just got their licence an average of £2,354 to insure.
The Volkswagen Up! is the car that has the lowest first year car insurance costs, but even this model will set young drivers back £1,483 on average.
AA president Edmund King said the drop is partly a result of driving lessons and tests in Britain being prohibited for much of the past 12 months due to coronavirus lockdowns.
‘This has been a very stressful time for many learners and indeed their instructors who were unable to work,’ he said.
Just 2.95 million people in Britain aged 18 to 25 hold a full licence after a fall from last year
Mr King claimed the disruption has been ‘exacerbated’ by the Government’s refusal to extend the maximum two-year period between passing the theory exam and taking a practical test.
The data from the DVLA also showed that just 62 per cent of 20 to 29 year olds had passed their tests – the lowest proportion since the figure peaked at 75 per cent in the late 1990s while, 86 per cent of 40 to 59 year olds hold a driving licence.
A 2019 Department for Transport survey found that the most common reasons for 17 to 20-year-olds in England not trying to get on the road was the cost of learning to drive (41 per cent), buying a car (31 per cent) and insuring it (30 per cent).
Fewer than one in five (19 per cent) respondents said they were not interested in driving, while just 12 per cent said the availability of other forms of transport was the reason they were not learning.
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