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Young people can’t afford to drive

Oct 11, 2017
According to research carried out by automotive consumer website, the number of 17-year-olds in the UK taking their driving test has fallen by 100,000 over the past decade.

There has also been a 20% drop in the overall number of under-25s learning to drive during the same period.

East Sussex experienced the largest average drop in young people taking the practical driving test, with a fall of 61%, while the county of Bristol was second with a decrease of 45%. Recent figures show that a city-based teenager driving a small hatchback worth £8,000 can be quoted up to £13,498 for a comprehensive 12-month insurance policy, while those living in rural areas can expect to pay a staggering £8,750. Not surprisingly, the rising cost of car insurance is deemed to be a major contributor in young people delaying the decision to start driving.

Average premiums increased by 8% in the first quarter of 2017, with accelerating costs being driven by Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), whiplash claims and changes in the way compensation is calculated. Over the past few years the IPT rate has doubled to 12%.

As well as sky high insurance costs, an average learner is likely to pay £1,529 to get their licence, with the Department for Transport claiming that, on average, 47 hours of professional tuition is required.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency records show that while the average pass rate for the driving test has increased since 2007-08, from 44% to 47%, the overall number of tests conducted has fallen significantly, from 1.8 million to 1.5 million, with young drivers accounting for the majority of the drop. Honest John’s Managing Editor, Daniel Powell said, “Put simply, young people are being priced out of learning to drive. Ten years ago, a typical 17-year-old would have booked a driving lesson as soon as they were legally able, but today most young people simply cannot afford to drive.”

Fewer young drivers entering the workplace will inevitably continue to starve the transport industry of the HGV driver prospects it so desperately needs.

Photo: The number of young people taking driving tests has fallen dramatically over the last decade.

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