Cost is the key reason why young people are turning away from driving

The number of young people getting behind the wheel is declining, with new research suggesting that the cost of learning to drive and running a car are key reasons behind it.

Gone are the days when passing your test was a rite of passage for most youngsters, as a survey of 1,000 young drivers found costs were behind the top three reasons putting them off driving.

For these young motorists, 29 per cent said the price of learning to drive had initially put them off, while the same percentage said they had been concerned about the cost of running a car. Just behind with 28 per cent was the price of the driving test itself.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, the road safety charity that conducted the study, said: “Our research shows that among young people the cost of learning to drive is a major deterrent to getting that license which would open up many more job opportunities and increase their personal mobility.”

“No doubt, the increase in numbers going into higher education, and the rise of cheap taxi-hailing mobile applications 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.”

Twenty-six per cent said a fear of driving had put them off learning, while the long waiting times for a test had been less of a concern at 20 per cent. However, just 14 per cent said they didn’t feel like they needed a car to get around.

The survey also asked the young drivers what would make them consider giving up the car, with 30 per cent saying they would give up their keys if they had a free bus pass and 27 per cent saying cheaper rail fares would encourage them to ditch their vehicle.