A recently-published National Travel Survey from the Department for Transport has indicated that the number of young people holding a full driving licence has experienced a sharp decline over the past few decades. The survey, which was carried out in 2013 with results released this year, showed that full licence ownership stood at 31% among 17 to 20 year olds in 2013. This represents a major drop from 1995, when data indicated that 43% of 17 to 20 years olds held full licences at that point in time.
Economic downturn hit would-be motorists hard
Young men have shown the greatest drop in full licence ownership – over half of 17 to 20 year old males held a full driving licence in 1995, while just 30% do so today. This could be a consequence of the perception that car insurance is prohibitively expensive for young men, who may feel that it’s not financially worthwhile to get a driving licence when car ownership may prove expensive until they reach a certain age. While this is due to young males statistically being the most likely drivers to have an accident, it means that the high premiums charged by many insurers to forestall this are beyond the reach of many would-be young drivers.
However, it’s not just the boys who are missing out on licences – the number of young female drivers also dropped between 1995 and 2013, from 36% to 31%. So why are young people more reluctant to obtain their driving licences? Stephen Galister, of the RAC Foundation, believes it’s largely down to cost – not just of insurance but also of learning to drive in the first place. “Younger people were hit disproportionately hard by the downturn,” he comments, which has lead many young people to find the cost of running a car too high. Even before a young driver gets their licence, the learning process can prove expensive. Individual driving lessons cost around £25 an hour, and many learner drivers require substantial lessons before they are ready to attempt a driving test. The test itself is costly too, priced at around £75 – and that’s if you pass it first time. Add on a theory test at £31 and the costs start to mount up.
The cost of getting behind the wheel
The RAC Foundation’s UK Cost of Motoring Index provides a clear indicator as to why young people might be reluctant to commit financially to driving. Even if we ignore the cost of learning to drive and of buying a first car, the cost of keeping a car on the road today is vastly higher than it was in 1995. According to the RAC Foundation, the cost of living according the Retail Price Index (RPI) has increased by over 75% since 1995. While this seems a large increase, it pales in comparison with the huge increase in motoring costs since that time. The cost of maintaining a car in a roadworthy condition has gone up by 140%, while oil and fuel costs are nearly 150% higher. However, the real culprit may be the cost of tax and insurance costs, which has shot up by 170% since 1995 – over twice the rate of inflation.
Get on the road for less
It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that young drivers (and their parents) are apprehensive about the costs involved in car ownership. One of the best places to start cutting this cost is with cheap learner and young driver car insurance – and Fair Investment Company can help you to find the cheapest deals. Use the table below to compare some of the best car insurance offers available for young drivers: