Is learning to drive really worth it?

Is it worth forking out thousands of pounds to keep teenagers on the road?

Updated: 
teenage boy taking a driving...

Teenagers around the country are holding their breath for the day they turn 17 and can finally get on with the business of driving - and escape the clutches of their parents. Their parents, meanwhile, are dreading the enormous outlays they will suddenly be expected to cover. A new study claims all the effort and expense may not be worth it after all.

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A study by London transport app Ubeeqo found that the average person takes at least three driving tests before they pass - with the tests alone costing £186. When you add in the lessons, it can be even more ruinous. Assuming they take the recommended 47 hours of tuition at the average cost of £24 an hour, that's £1,128. If they need more help - it can easily cost more than £2,000 to get a leaner driver successfully through their test.

Once they finally get their lands on their driving licence, there's the incredible cost of buying and insuring a car for a young person. It's hardly surprising, therefore, that the study found that one in five of all licence holders under the age of 35 don't have a car at all.

Even those who have a car find themselves far less keen on driving it than they expected. The study found that young drivers were 16% less likely to drive regularly - because of the cost of petrol, parking and the congestion charge.

They are more likely to use their driving licence to buy alcohol or cigarettes than they are to use it to drive. Unsurprisingly 5% of those who haven't driven within the past month regret bothering to take their driving test.

Should you bother?

However, this doesn't necessarily mean parents can get away without the typical costs of having a 17-year-old. Those who live in the middle of a city, with a vast public transport network, may not be desperate to drive. Why would they be? They can already get everywhere they want on public transport - without the hassle of being the designated driver.

For those who live further afield, however, it's a very different story. For this group, their first cheap car, and their ridiculously expensive car insurance policy, are invaluable, because it gives them and their friends freedom.

So while London-based teens may not see the point in forking out over £1,000 for what quickly becomes a particularly expensive form of ID, those living outside cities would pay anything for the freedom a licence gives them.

Unfortunately for their parents these teenagers are highly unlikely to have the resources to pay for all of this invaluable freedom - let alone the ongoing petrol and maintenance. So for the next few years at least, they can expect to fork out well over £1,000 a year in keeping their children on the road.

As to whether it's worth it for parents, you'd have to ask them.

In many cases it comes down to a choice between spending the cash, or having your kids mope round the house every evening complaining that all their friends are out having fun, and your stinginess has ruined their life.

Would it be worth it to you? Let us know in the comments.

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