THE number of teenagers learning to drive has dropped by 20 per cent in ten years, dealing a crashing blow to the UK car industry.
A Sun on Sunday investigation can reveal almost 80,000 fewer 17-year-olds took their test last year compared with 2008.
The number of teenage boys getting their L-plates fell by a quarter.
Experts say the decline — combined with the rise of cheap Ubers, the phasing out of diesel engines and the advent of driverless vehicles — is dangerously denting car production.
The industry has stalled from its peak worth of £5.8billion in 2013 to just £588million last year, when only 1.52million cars were produced — a five-year low.
Greg Marsden, chair of the Commission on Travel Demand, said: “Many young people are happy without a car, especially in big cities where public transport is good.”
Facts and figures
- 20% fall in teenage learners in ten years
- 1,500 cost of lessons and test
- 4,000 cost of insurance for teens
Another reason stopping them getting behind the wheel is the cost. A city-based teenager with an £8,000 hatchback can be quoted upwards of £4,000 for a year’s insurance. Lessons and a test generally total £1,500.
Three young people tell us why they have been priced out of driving…
Cars can be affordable, the other stuff on top isn’t
MEGAN HUTCHINSON, 18, who lives in Gosforth, Tyne & Wear, said: “It’s all so expensive. You have to pay for lessons, pay for your test, buy a car, pay for insurance then pay for petrol.
“It’s mainly the insurance, I’d say, that’s too much. You can get the car for a reasonable amount but it’s all the other stuff on top.
“I use Uber if I’m in town on a Saturday. There will be cars that will drive themselves soon anyway.”
Learning would end up costing me and my mum
STUDENT ED CLOUGH, 19, from Norfolk, said: “I don’t really need to learn how to drive.
“My mum has a car and it would be expensive for me to get insured on.
“She’d have to look at getting a smaller car for me to be put on the cover.
“I would like to learn how to drive but the cost of me doing so would affect us both. The insurance is just too expensive.”
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I’d need a loan – but it’s not worth getting in debt
CONNOR ANDERSON, 20, a bakery worker, from Newcastle, said: “Driving is too expensive, especially for young people.
“I would have to look at getting a loan – or a job where I can earn more – to pay for the car and the insurance.
“A lot of my friends have cars and some of them bought on finance.
“People who want to drive are getting into debt without much advice on how to handle it.”
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