Is it time to regulate learning costs?
Learning to drive costs continue to rise beyond affordability
Learner drivers are now paying over £2500 to get their licence according to data crunching by Quotezone.co.uk.
This represents a 215% increase from 30 years ago.
It has led them to call for a review of regulation into the cost of driving lessons. As the cost of living crisis takes its toll, more young people are being excluded from getting behind the wheel because of financial pressures. In turn, this can reduce their options for further eduction and employment, especially those living in more rural communities.
A large part of the increase comes from young driver insurance costs. Over recent decades the insurance industry became more aware of the dangerous initial period for novice drivers going solo behind the wheel.This led to huge increases in premiums.
The rise of ‘black box’ and telematics insurance options has helped reduce these initial insurance costs, but only marginally.
Interestingly, the price charged for driving lessons has not seen any dramatic increases. It has long been an issue for many in the driver training industry – people are more prepared for music or ballet lessons, the what is actually the most dangerous activity most of us will participate in during our lives.
The report concludes that many young people (and parents) simply cannot afford the expense of learning to drive.
Quotezone.co.uk has researched the average amount of money a learner today will end up paying from start to finish.
Before even getting behind the wheel, learners in the UK must apply for a provisional driving licence, costing them £34 to apply online or £43 by post.
In 1996 the Theory Test was introduced alongside the Practical Test. This added a cost. In fact the cost of the tests has consistently increased.
In 1982 the driving test cost under £9. Now the theory test is £23 and the practical test £62 for weekday tests, rising to £75 on the weekend.
Getting behind the wheel
Next, the biggest expense, is finding a driving instructor suitable and getting enough practice in to take the test.
The Government’s ‘Ready to Pass’ campaign claims that the average learner will take 45 hours of lessons with their instructor plus 22 hours of private practice.
Taking into account that the average 1 hour lesson costs £30, learners are expected to fork out £1,350 to pay instructors. It’s a figure that has changed little over the last decade.
Comparatively, reports show that learners in the 1980s and 90s paid an average of just £10 an hour – meaning lessons alone are costing pupils today £900 more.
Additional fees include paid-for apps to practise theory test questions. The same is true for the practical side of driving, while many driving instructors charge for learners to use the car when taking their test.
Overall, learners are now paying £2707 to learn to drive, not including the cost of more driving lessons and more tests if they are unsuccessful after the first try.
Every year around 1.6 million nervous Brits buckle up to sit their practical driving test. However, the pass rate remains below 50%, dropping to 46% on average for female drivers.
There is no limit to how many times you can sit the test, so don’t worry if you fail. The record for the highest number of fails is 42 for the practical and a whopping 158 times for a failed driving theory test!
Time for help
Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk said: “Learning to drive is a rite of passage and the worry is young people aren’t getting the option to learn, as the rising costs are making it unaffordable.
“More regulation on the cost of driving lessons and other mandatory fees would help young people get out on the roads and also help ensure they don’t cut corners.
“Having a more affordable pathway to learn to drive will also encourage pupils to take their time before booking a test and in turn help reduce the growing driving test backlog seen across the country.”
Learners also have to tax and insure the vehicle and indeed the vehicle cost itself if they don’t have access to a family car, it’s beginning to make driving unattainable for young drivers.
|Driving Essentials for Learners
|Provisional driving licence
|£34 to apply online (or £43 by post)
|£1,350 (£30 per hour x 45 hours)
|Driving theory test
|Driving practical test
|£62 for weekday tests (rising to £75 on the weekend)
|Revision app £5
|Instructors car for the test
|£60 (£30 per hour x 2 at lesson fee rate)
|£145 (although tbc on vehicle specifics)
|Average Insurance Estimate
17-24 year olds
|£1028 (tbc on driver/vehicle specifics)
Not including the cost of the vehicle itself, assuming most learners have access to a family vehicle initially