The number of young drivers applying for a provisional licence has dropped, according to data from the DVLA.
According to the motoring authority’s figures, 698,358 15- to 24-year olds applied for provisional licences in 2013, compared to 788,246 in 2007.
Not only that, but the number has been shown to have fallen even further since then, with only 628,263 young people applying for licences this year so far.
As a result, it’s unlikely that the amount of new drivers is unlikely to exceed last year’s number by the end of 2014.
DVLA rules state that drivers can apply for provisional licences when they’re exactly 15 years and 9 months old, though they can’t ride a moped until 16 or drive a car until they’re 17 years old.
Peak and decline
The highest amount of 16-year olds applying for licences peaked in 2006 with 248,423 applications, while 254,384 17-year olds applied for a provisional licence in the same year.
Data shows that the number of drivers on the younger end of the scale applying for licences. has dropped steadily, with around 26,000 fewer 16-year olds and 19,000 less 17-year olds applying last year.
According to the AA, the recession in 2008 had an impact on the amount of learner drivers, meaning that drivers who previously couldn’t have afforded lessons are now taking their tests a few years later.
Widening age range
An AA spokesperson said: “It is fair to say we have noticed a widening in the age range of people coming to us for lessons over the last few years, although learning to drive and taking the test at 17 is still the most popular age to do so.
“There are a number of reasons why people may wait before learning now, often it is because they wait until after finishing school or university, or until they need to drive for work.”
Despite the amount of younger drivers applying for licences falling, the same data shows that the number of older drivers applying for provisional licences is actually increasing.
In total, 88,693 18-year old drivers applied for their licence last year, compared to only 75,805 in 2006, a full two years before the financial recession struck.
As well as the cost of learning to drive, motoring organisations are claiming that the rising cost of insurance for younger drivers is another contributing factor to why learners are now leaving it later.
Previous research by the Transport Select Committee has shown that as many as 96 per cent of younger drivers believe that they’re being “priced off the road” by rising insurance premiums.