Is Driving Too Expensive For Youngsters?

Thu 28th Oct 2021

The number of younger drivers is on a downslope, and new research has found that the costing of learning, buying and running a car is the biggest factor stopping new drivers.

A survey of 1,000 young drivers by IAM RoadSmart found that the top three reasons for 17-24 year-olds not driving in the first place were all related to cost, with lessons and running a car the biggest reason for 29 per cent and the cost of tests a reason for 28 per cent.

“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,” said Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart.

“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.”

Other key reasons for being put off learning to drive include fear of driving (26%), the waiting list for tests (20%) and the stress of finding and buying a car once passed (20%).

Meanwhile, the same survey also asked what factors would make youngsters consider giving up driving and an improvement in public transport was the leading sentiment, with 30 per cent saying that a free bus pass would make them give up their car keys.

“Public transport use is still down after the pandemic so it has never been more important to consider the positive impact a driving license could have on your lifestyle and your employment prospects,” Greig added.

Which of the following, if any, put you off learning to drive at first?

Costs of the lessons


The cost of running a car once you had passed


The costs of the tests


Fear of driving


Waiting lists on tests


Finding / buying a car for after I had passed


Finding the time


Feeling like you didn’t need a car to get around


Recommendations from family / friends not to drive