With the number of young people getting behind the wheel in decline, a survey carried out by IAM RoadSmart highlights reasons why many young people aged 17-24 years have put the brakes on learning to drive.

Of 1,000 young drivers surveyed, cost concerns were rated as the biggest reason why young people are put off learning to drive. Equal top (29%) were the price of lessons and the cost of running car, closely followed (28%) by the cost of taking the driving test. 

Neil Greig from IAM RoadSmart said: “Our research shows that the cost of learning to drive is a major deterrent to getting that license which would open up many more job opportunities and increase personal mobility.

“No doubt, the increase in numbers going into higher education, and the rise of cheap taxi-hailing mobile apps have also fuelled the driving decline. 

“Many young people lack the financial confidence to commit to running a car, especially when relatively cheap alternative forms of travel are available.”

Could we be witnessing the beginning of the end of the manual driving licence?

The same survey suggests the ‘green agenda’ is ‘radically influencing’ driving attitudes of young people.

The ban of new petrol and diesel vehicle sales from 2030, and the absence of manual gearboxes in electric vehicles, prompted 61% of those surveyed to say they plan to apply for an automatic-only driving licence.

81% of respondents stated they were likely to purchase an electric vehicle as their next car, with only 5% saying they are very unlikely to purchase an electric vehicle.

Neil Greig added: “These figures demonstrate that the traditional split between manual and automatic driving licences is becoming less and less relevant to modern motoring.  

“It’s time this artificial distinction was ditched as part of an overall review of learning to drive that prioritises experience in all traffic conditions over the type of gearbox you have. 

“Until things change however, young people need to be aware that manual driving licences will always open up a wider range of job opportunities for them, particularly as the country recovers from the pandemic.”

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