Cost keeping down number of young drivers27 Jul 2017

Price of lessons biggest concern

The cost of learning rather than a lack of interest is the most common reason young people in England do not drive.

Data from the 2016 National Travel Survey shows that almost half (44%) of those aged 17-20 not trying to get on the road say the cost of learning to drive is one of the factors.

This is followed by the cost of insurance (31%) and buying a car (28%), with almost a quarter (24%) saying friends and family can drive them when necessary.

Fewer than one in five (19%) say they are not interested in driving.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“For all the speculation that we are seeing a seismic shift in lifestyle choice by young people, these figures reveal a more basic, economic reality – many are simply being priced off the road.

“Almost 95% of those aged 17 to 20 currently without a licence say they’d get one if they could.

“It’s easy to understand why: Many jobs require people to be able to drive and outside of the big cities independence comes from having a vehicle.

“This is something the Chancellor would do well to remember when he comes back to motoring taxes in the autumn.”

Just 29% of people aged 17 to 20 hold a full licence today. This is compared with 35% a decade ago.

The survey also revealed that in England:

  • 80% of men and 67% of women hold a driving licence
  • 77% of all households own at least one car, while 34% own two or more
  • The average person takes 774 trips (excluding short walks) per year, 13% down on the 2002 figure of 886
  • The average person travels 6,396 miles per year (excluding short walk journeys) down on the 2002 figure of 7,104
  • The average person spends 332 hours travelling per year (excluding short walks) down on the 355 figure of 355
  • 62% of trips and 78% of distance are done by car
  • 25% of trips and 3% of distance are done on foot



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | [email protected] | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users. The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

The RAC Foundation is a registered charity, number 1002705.

All the Foundation’s work is available on its website: