Young drivers priced off the road, study finds | Motoring Issues - Car News Jul 2017


15:56 Tuesday 11 Jul 2017

New research has shown a dramatic dip in the number of young people learning to drive.

The study commissioned by automotive consumer website Honest John found that many young people are abandoning their ambitions of becoming drivers, with spiralling insurance costs being cited as a major factor.

Honest John found 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 will be asked to pay a staggering £8,750.  Average premiums leapt by 8% in the first three months of this year as changes to Insurance Premium Tax and compensation calculations came into force.

Insurance Premium Tax has doubled over the past few years to 12%, netting the Government and estimated £5.8 billion a year but contributing to a knock-on effect on the number of people taking up driving. The number of 17-year olds taking the practical driving test has fallen by more than 100,000 in the past decade, while the overall number of under-25s in the UK that are learning to drive is down by 20 per cent.

As well as sky high insurance costs, Department of Transport figures suggest an average learner  will pay over £1,500 in lessons and test fees to obtain their licence, and while Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency records show the average pass rate for the driving test has increased from 44 to 47 per cent over the past decade, the overall number of tests conducted has fallen from 1.8 million to 1.5 million. Further investigation found that young drivers account 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. Increases in IPT and changes to the way major personal injury claims are calculated have pushed up premiums by an average of eight per cent. But for younger drivers the real world increases are probably much higher.” 


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