Road Safety News
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The excessive cost of driving for young people

Friday 30th September 2011

Young drivers are likely to pay more than £12,000 for a year on the road, even before their car is driven anywhere, according to the IAM.

In order to afford lessons and a first year of driving, a 17-year-old male would on average have to pay £12,300, the IAM has calculated. The road safety charity contrasts that with the average full time salary for young drivers - £9,300 for 16-17 year-olds and £14,440 for 18-21 year olds (in 2009).

The IAM breaks down the costs as follows (excluding fuel and maintenance):

  • • £1,128 - average cost of lessons before passing the test
  • • £100 - driving test costs (theory and practical, assuming first time pass)
  • • £3,000 - five-year-old Kia Picanto
  • • £7,900 - insurance (based on popular comparison site quote)
  • • £180 - tax and MOT

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, says: “The average cost of a claim by a young driver is £4,500, but insurance can cost nearly twice that. This will have an effect on road safety because young drivers are consequently unlikely to afford newer and safer vehicles. It also affects their chances of getting a job, especially in rural areas where a car is essential to get to work.

“The IAM wants to see driving risks – and therefore claims – reduced with more pre-driving training for 14 to 16 year olds, so that they understand the skills they will need when they get behind the wheel.

“We also need to see post-test training for young drivers in the first 12 to 18 months after passing their driving test. In Austria this has been shown to cut the death rate for young male drivers by 30%.

“Where drivers can demonstrate that post-test training reduces their risk, the insurance industry needs to respond with lower premiums.”

For more information contact the IAM Press Office on 020 8996 9777.

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In my neck of the woods, drivers in the age group 17-24 years are "over-represented" when compared with those in the age group 25-54 years, by a factor of 2.3 times. Surely, not a difference large enough to justify an insurance charge of £7,900!

My paternal grandfather is alleged to have said, "Never trust a businessman", and I wonder whether we should have listened to him. Perhaps a member of the insurance business could enlighten us. Otherwise, I suspect that, in ignorance of the facts, we are just being conned into allowing our young people ruthlessly to be exploited.

I hope to be corrected, in due course ...
Andrew Fraser, STIRLING