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Friday 5th August 2011

Rising costs result in drop in young drivers

1 reader has commented on this story

The number of 17 – 22 year olds taking a driving test has fallen by 19% since 2005; a drop of more than 200,000 people, according to Newsbeat.

Much of the decrease has been put down to an increase in the cost of learning to drive and then running a car. Some prices have risen slightly, others, like car insurance, have rocketed.

The Newsbeat report refers to a recent Government survey in which almost two thirds of young people who can’t drive said they were put off by the cost of learning. But, as Newsbeat points out, there is also the rise in tax, petrol, and the cost of car insurance.

Five years ago a 35-year-old would have paid around £245 for car insurance. That has now risen to £325. Furthermore, a 17-year-old would have paid around £2,500. That is now at least £4,000, and significantly more if you are male.

Insurance companies say that it is because a young male driver is 10 times more likely to have an accident then someone over 35.

Simon Douglas, from the AA, said: “It doesn't matter what age you learn to drive, the longer you spend behind the wheel the better you'll be as a driver.”

According to Newsbeat, there are signs the cost of insurance is starting to fall. Figures for the last quarter show a slight drop for young drivers. And new EU legislation will mean companies won't be able to charge different amounts based on gender.

Simon Douglas added: “It's not good news if you're a young lady. It's likely their insurance costs will go up by maybe 25 or 30%.

“We don't expect to see much reduction in the price for young men and therefore overall costs are likely to rise when this comes in.”

Click here to read the full report.

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Comment A 19% drop in young people taking the DSA driving test is indicative of the hardship that many young people face in these difficult economic times. It is also a reflection of the diminishing disposable income of their parents.

Also the governments scrappage scheme has all but taken cheap second-hand first time buyer type cars off the road. Whilst some were better off scrapped, many safe usable cars traditionally purchased by teenagers were needlessly taken out of circulation.

In the past, many parents were willing and able to support their offspring’s desire to own and drive a car, but with spiralling fuel and insurance costs, supporting their teenagers desire to drive, is a luxury many can no longer afford.

The latest increase in vehicle insurance is evidential of the insurance industry’s failure to encourage safe driving among the young. Due to the economic climate, the insurance industry has been forced to massively increase premiums for the young rather than spread the cost across the populous as they have done so for many years.

It is clearly unfair that there is no system in place to reward safe young drivers. The government needs to strengthen the Pass plus course in order for insurance companies to have the confidence to offer discounts to successful participants.

RoadDriver will continue to encourage insurance companies to offer discounts to those young drivers who participate in our New Driver Monitoring Schemes.
Charles Dunn, RoadDriver


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