For a long time learning to drive was a rite of passage for a teenager when they turned 17, but is becoming a new driver losing its appeal? The latest figures suggest the number has fallen by nearly 30% in the past ten years. So what is the underlying cause?
Are this generation too lazy?
Is it too easy to rely on others?
Are they just too busy with College, University or attempting to start their careers?
Is the process of learning to drive too long winded?
Or maybe, is it because learning to drive, as a young driver, is just too expensive?
In a 2017 report by Ingenie, an insurance company specialising in insurance for young drivers, it was suggested that there are 2.7 million drivers under the age of 25 on the road; 1.3 million of those are under 22. That makes up 7% of all the people with a licence in the UK. Yet, that means that only 33% of 17-21 year olds have a full driving licence, and only 40% of the same age bracket hold a provisional license. That being said, though there has been a drop in the overall number of practical driving tests being taken, the pass rate has increased.
Is money the root of the problem?
It’s no secret that life on the road for a new driver isn’t cheap, just starting out comes at a huge cost. If you take into consideration the weekly driving lessons with an instructor, add in the costs for a theory test, a practical test and depending on your situation, the running of a car and insurance on a provisional licence with a parent/other, it’s not hard to see why the thought of driving might be losing its appeal.
According to MoneySupermarket.com, the average cost of learning to drive can be up to a whopping £1,275. This is broken down into the cost of obtaining a provisional licence, driving lessons, revision guides, a theory test and a practical test (read the full breakdown and how to cut the cost of learning to drive here). If you take this on-board and consider that this does not include the cost of actually purchasing and insuring a car, how are the majority of 17 year olds supposed to find the money to start this new chapter of their lives?
If it’s not the cost of learning to drive putting young people off, the list of other reasons are pretty compelling, whether that’s simply being too busy to learn, not interested, for environmental reasons, due to location or perhaps public transport being readily available, but it’s easy to see why this one takes the crown from the rest. Young drivers are starting later, or simply not at all. You could argue that this is hardly a vital issue, if not driving suits the individual, does it matter? Or is learning to drive an essential life skill that makes you more employable, more able to travel freely, and if so should someone be doing more to encourage young drivers?
Perhaps it doesn’t matter because, in the not too distant future, we may end up not needing to learn to drive at all anyway…