Learner Driver Week highlights young people's concerns behind the wheel
Research by Marmalade has highlighted that young people aren’t happy with the current system of learning to drive. They feel that the support received is not enough, that the process is too expensive and that it ultimately leaves them unprepared for a lifetime of driving.
This insight comes from a census of more than 1,800 young and learner drivers earlier this year, which has highlighted some worrying insights about how people really feel about learning to drive.
As a result, industry leaders have come together to create the first ever Learner Driver Week, taking place from 24th – 30th July, in order to voice these opinions and encourage positive change to make driving as accessible, valuable and affordable as possible.
The findings from the survey shed light on the numerous issues faced by young people. Respondents think that:
- Driving should be represented as an option in the school curriculum (25%)
- The government should provide subsidised driving lessons (26%)
- Efforts should be made to reduce wait times for taking tests (26%)
Other suggestions made by respondents include raising the test requirements to cover any gaps in knowledge, reducing fuel prices, increasing awareness of safe driving practices and ensuring that driving lessons vary in conditions, i.e. during busy times and at night. Many people also believe that insurance costs should be lower to give learner drivers a fairer chance to afford to drive.
The census also found that half of young learners surveyed are more anxious or equally anxious about their driving test compared to their school exams. The top three worries about learning to drive are:
- Other road users (19%)
- Having an accident (18%)
- Stalling (15%)
A further 13% are worried about never passing their test!
Adding to this, many people feel that driving tests do not teach them the essential skills actually needed to drive. 38% of respondents feel unprepared for motorway driving, whilst 31% worry about breaking down and 21% are concerned about vehicle safety and maintenance.
The driving force
Crispin Moger, CEO at Marmalade, comnments:
Marmalade has always championed young people. We give our drivers fair insurance policies based on their driving ability rather than giving them high premiums because of their age.
We’re never afraid to stand up and challenge changes in the industry, such as this year’s increase of Insurance Premium Tax, which make it increasingly difficult for young people to get on the road with yet another increased cost.
The census data supports exactly why we’ve launched Learner Driver Week – because at a time when young people are under pressure from A-level and university exams, their first jobs and the general stress of growing up – there are too many obstacles standing in the way of them picking up a life-changing skill.
Driving allows people to gain independence and opens up opportunities for education, work and relationships. We need to ensure that everyone can learn to drive if they wish to do so, and that they are properly equipped with the skills to become safe and confident drivers.
More can be done, and should be done, to help people learn to drive. In the UK there are almost 7.8 million provisional licence holders in the UK, and only around 1.25 million practical tests are taken every year. What’s stopping the licence holders getting on the road?
There only around 40,000 Approved Driving Instructors in the UK, and I think we can all agree that isn’t enough for them to give every learner the time and attention they need without long waiting lists.
Who’s responsible for this reform? We all are – the insurance companies, the government and the instructors, to ensure that the process is thorough in its teachings, clear in its processes and fair in its pricing to support, rather than hinder, learner drivers in the UK.
We are on your side!