DVLA data shows rise in young provisional licence holders but drop in 17 to 24-year-old qualified drivers

Press release -

DVLA data shows rise in young provisional licence holders but drop in 17 to 24-year-old qualified drivers

www.safedrivingforlife.info/learners/i-want-drive/starting-driveThe number of young people with provisional driving licences has increased by 8% in the last four years at the same time as a 6% fall in those becoming fully fledged young drivers has been recorded.

According to RAC Black Box Car Insurance analysis of DVLA data* 164,282 (2,081,800 v 2,246,082) more young people aged 17-24 had provisional licences in 2016 than in 2014, but 187,137 fewer (2,886,868 v 2,708,731) were actually listed as having their full licences.

Among teenage drivers (17 to 19-year-olds), the number of provisional licences was up 10% over the same period while the volume of fully qualified drivers was down 8%.

In addition, driving test data** shows there has been a 13% decline in the number of tests taken, as well as passed, in the same period (1,436,481 v 1,252,871). Going from 2007 however, the drop increases to 29% (1,762,363 tests taken). The pass rate of 47% has not changed in the last four years, but it has improved on 2007 when it was 44%.

RAC Black Box Car Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said: “Learning to drive is a key step towards personal freedom and the figures very clearly demonstrate there is a desire for young people to embark on that journey with an 8% rise in people receiving their provisional licences.

“Surprisingly, figures show both an overall drop in the number of people of all ages taking the test and a fall in the number of young people who are fully qualified drivers. This implies that an increasing number are not going on to take and pass their driving tests, and are therefore remaining as provisional licence holders.

“The cost of lessons and the number required to reach the necessary skill level to take the test has presumably played a part in this. With driving lessons now costing around £25 an hour and learners requiring an average of 45 hours of instruction to pass***, learning to drive can be a very expensive rite of passage costing well over £1,000.

“And then once new drivers qualify to drive on their own they somehow have to foot their car insurance bills of usually around £1,000 or higher. But while this is clearly not very appealing it would seem unlikely that it is putting young drivers off taking their tests.”

Looking at all age groups there was a 3% increase in the total number of full driving licence holders from 2012 to 2016 while there was an 8% rise in those with provisional licences.

Interestingly, the data also shows there has been a 6% decline in the number of full licence holders in their 40s, which equates to 471,395 fewer people. In contrast, there was no change in those with provisional licences in the same age category, with 1.3m having one in both 2012 and 2016.

The figures also reveal there has been a 22% increase in provisional licence holders in their 50s and a similar rise among those in their 70s (21%). Among full licence holders in the same age groups, there are 10% more qualified drivers in their 50s (681,236) and 15% more in their 70s (434,730) than four years ago.

In addition, the comparison revealed Great Britain now has 152,474 more full licence holders in their 80s – a 15% increase – and 18,688 in their 90s – a 26% increase – compared to 2012.

Provisional Full
Age range 2012 2016 Change Age range 2012 2016 Change
17-19 903,429 991,320 10% 17-19 619,037 570,471 -8%
17-24 2,081,800 2,246,082 8% 17-24 2,886,868 2,708,731 -6%
20-29 2,076,696 2,222,042 7% 20-29 5,026,468 4,991,525 -1%
30-39 1,422,830 1,511,223 6% 30-39 6,428,346 6,450,361 0%
40-49 1,311,226 1,305,588 0% 40-49 8,278,600 7,807,205 -6%
50-59 862,220 1,053,052 22% 50-59 7,142,572 7,823,808 10%
60-69 538,348 618,622 15% 60-69 6,169,235 6,406,163 4%
70-79 9,408 11,396 21% 70-79 2,842,452 3,277,182 15%
80-89 1,202 1,385 15% 80-89 988,424 1,140,898 15%
90-99 52 64 23% 90-99 71,097 89,785 26%
100+ - - n/a 100+ 162 236 46%
All 7,173,545 7,769,398 8% All 37,567,461 38,558,731 3%

Simon Williams added: “RAC Black Box Car Insurance is naturally proving very popular among young people under the age of 25 because it offers cheaper premiums as a result of them earning a real-time safe driving track record. What has been surprising though, is the policy’s appeal to older drivers who are also suffering from increasing premiums, whether that’s as a result of a recent claim or the fact that the cost of insurance is on the increase generally.”

RAC Black Box Car Insurance works via a matchbox-sized device which tracks speed, braking and acceleration along with where and when the policyholder drives in order to calculate how safe they are through a Driver Score. Unlike some telematics policies, there are no curfew or mileage limits so the policyholder is free to drive when, where and how far they like.

The policyholder can keep track of their driving performance by going to the RAC Black Box Insurance portal to look at their easy-to-understand Driver Score. There are also hints and tips for improving the score through safer and more economical driving. The Driver Score is first calculated after the policyholder’s car has been driven 200 miles and is then updated every seven days after the installation date.

The RAC telematics black box is fitted free of charge in approximately an hour at a time and location convenient to the policyholder. The telematics box also includes the RAC’s patented accident detection technology, which correctly detected 92% of accidents in Transport Research Laboratory tests, even at speeds as low as 5mph, in contrast to most other boxes on the market which identify around 50%.

For further information about RAC Black Box Car Insurance visit www.rac.co.uk/blackbox or call 0330 1591 042.


Notes to Editors

* Source: GB Driving Licence Data – https://data.gov.uk/dataset/driving-licence-data) – 24 November 2012 and 31 March 2016.

** Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency - www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/602596/dvsa0201.ods

***  Average number of hours of instruction to pass the driving test Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

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