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Rising costs blamed for drop in driving tests
The increasing cost of driving in the UK is putting young people off taking their tests, according to a number of motoring institutions.
The latest figures published by the Department for Transport show nearly 200,000 fewer driving tests were taken over the last 12 months compared to five years ago.
During the period from April 2007 to March 2008 1,762,148 driving tests were taken compared to 1,569,069 between April 2011 and March 2012, marking a 19% drop in candidates aged between 17 and 22 years old.
Many youngsters can’t afford driving lessons, with even the £143 fee needed to get a licence and take the theory and practical elements of the test a stretch for some.
However, this is a relatively small outlay compared to the cost of buying, running and maintaining a car – with fuel prices and insurance premiums escalating, potential young drivers are being stopped from learning to drive by prohibitively high costs.
The AA, RAC and Institute of Advanced Motorists are warning that the rising expense of driving could inhibit young adults from finding work, too.
Inhabitants of rural areas with limited public transport links could find it difficult to source work or commute to and from a job without a car.
Being unable to drive can also affect the social side of life, making children dependent on parents for lifts and straining relationships.
AA head of public affairs Paul Watters believes a driving licence could facilitate a job or further study and that it is not apathy amongst young drivers causing test take-up rates to drop.
Contrary to that, young drivers realise how important obtaining a driving permit can be.
Since 2005 driving lessons have increased in cost by around 14% – now at an average price of £24 per hour – while the theory test has nearly doubled in price to £31. The cost of the practical driving test has increased by a third, up to £62.
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