Fleet News

Rise in young provisional licence holders but qualified drivers fall

The number of young people with provisional driving licences has increased by 8% over the past four years.

However, at the same time a 6% fall in those becoming fully fledged young drivers has been recorded.

Figures suggest that 164,282 (2,081,800 versus 2,246,082) more young people aged 17-24 had provisional licences in 2016 than in 2014, but 187,137 fewer (2,886,868 versus 2,708,731) were actually listed as having their full licences, according to RAC Black Box Car Insurance analysis of DVLA data.

Among teenage drivers (17 to 19-year-olds), the number of provisional licences was up 10% over the same period while the volume of fully qualified drivers was down 8%.

Furthermore, driving test data shows there has been a 13% decline in the number of tests taken, as well as passed, in the same period (1,436,481 versus 1,252,871).

Going from 2007 however, the drop increases to 29% (1,762,363 tests taken). The pass rate of 47% has not changed in the last four years, but it has improved on 2007 when it was 44%.

RAC Black Box Car Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said: “Surprisingly, figures show both an overall drop in the number of people of all ages taking the test and a fall in the number of young people who are fully qualified drivers. This implies that an increasing number are not going on to take and pass their driving tests, and are therefore remaining as provisional licence holders.

“The cost of lessons and the number required to reach the necessary skill level to take the test has presumably played a part in this. With driving lessons now costing around £25 an hour and students possibly requiring 20 to 30 at a cost of approximately £500 to £750 it clearly can be a very expensive rite of passage.

“And then once new drivers qualify to drive on their own they somehow have to foot their car insurance bills of usually around £1,000 or higher. But while this is clearly not very appealing it would seem unlikely that it is putting young drivers off taking their tests.”

Looking at all age groups there was a 3% increase in the total number of full driving licence holders from 2012 to 2016 while there was an 8% rise in those with provisional licences.

Interestingly, the data also shows there has been a 6% decline in the number of full licence holders in their 40s, which equates to 471,395 fewer people. In contrast, there was no change in those with provisional licences in the same age category, with 1.3m having one in both 2012 and 2016.

The figures also reveal there has been a 22% increase in provisional licence holders in their 50s and a similar rise among those in their 70s (21%). Among full licence holders in the same age groups, there are 10% more qualified drivers in their 50s (681,236) and 15% more in their 70s (434,730) than four years ago.

Furthermore, the comparison revealed Great Britain now has 152,474 more full licence holders in their 80s – a 15% increase – and 18,688 in their 90s – a 26% increase – compared to 2012.

Provisional

 

Full

Age range

2012

2016

Change

 

Age range

2012

2016

Change

17-19

903,429

991,320

10%

 

17-19

619,037

570,471

-8%

17-24

2,081,800

2,246,082

8%

 

17-24

2,886,868

2,708,731

-6%

20-29

2,076,696

2,222,042

7%

 

20-29

5,026,468

4,991,525

-1%

30-39

1,422,830

1,511,223

6%

 

30-39

6,428,346

6,450,361

0%

40-49

1,311,226

1,305,588

0%

 

40-49

8,278,600

7,807,205

-6%

50-59

862,220

1,053,052

22%

 

50-59

7,142,572

7,823,808

10%

60-69

538,348

618,622

15%

 

60-69

6,169,235

6,406,163

4%

70-79

9,408

11,396

21%

 

70-79

2,842,452

3,277,182

15%

80-89

1,202

1,385

15%

 

80-89

988,424

1,140,898

15%

90-99

52

64

23%

 

90-99

71,097

89,785

26%

100+

-

-

n/a

 

100+

162

236

46%

All

7,173,545

7,769,398

8%

 

All

37,567,461

38,558,731

3%

 

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