Is Driving In Decline? Young Driver Numbers Falling

New driver tearing up L plate after passing driving testLearning to drive was once at the top of almost every teenager’s wish list – I know it was for me. That seems to be changing, however, according to new statistics.

In the early 1990s, 48% of 17-20 year-olds had driving licences. In 2010, that figure was just 35%.

There’s an interesting article in The Guardian discussing the reasons behind the decline in motoring in more detail, but there is one other factor the article doesn’t discuss which I think may be significant.

The Cost Of Learning To Drive

When I learned to drive (in 1995), I remember having about 15 one-hour lessons before I took my test. In addition, I was expected to practice with my parents a bit and learn the Highway Code in my own time. Having done all this, I passed first time – like many of my friends.

Today, however, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) says that on average, learner drivers who pass their test have had around 47 hours of lessons, with 22 hours of private practice. This makes learning to drive extremely expensive and time consuming.

If my parents had had to fork out that much money for me to learn to drive, I’m not sure whether I would have done it until I could have paid for it myself.

I know that learner drivers these days have to pass the theory test as well as the practical test, but the theory test isn’t that difficult and most learners should be able to do most of the preparation for the theory test themselves at home, using one of the book or interactive DVD sets that are available.

The time and cost involved in learning to drive seems to have increased beyond any obvious explanation. Newly-qualified young drivers are not noticeably more skilled or safer than they were twenty years ago – so what’s going on?

Are you aged 17-20? Have you learned to drive recently or have you chosen to leave it a few years? Why? Leave a comment below – I’d love to learn more.

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