Desire to drive showing signs of post-recession recovery

Written by
Luke Davies
30th of October, 2014
  • Statistics show rise in applications for provisional driving licences
  • Number of driving tests conducted also on the up
  • Government plans to reduce driving licence costs may aid continued growth when they come into effect this Friday (October 31st).
  • Figures coincide with 50th anniversary of Approved Driving Instructor Register

Statistics show the number of people applying for their provisional driving licence, taking their practical driving test and applying to become a driving instructor are on the rise.

Data, obtained by BSM, shows in July this year there were 88,754 applications for provisional licences – the highest in any single month since 2010. This was a rise of 20% compared to July 2013, when there were 73,733 provisional licence applications.

It also shows applications for provisional driving licences have risen by 13 per cent in the first eight months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

There was also a rise of 17.9 per cent in the number of people actually taking their practical driving test** in the first quarter of this year. Theory tests attempts also shot up by 34.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2014 to 389,717.

The rise continued in the second quarter (April to June) with an increase of 1.5% in practical test attempts and a 19.8% in theory tests***.

Mark Peacock, head of BSM, said: “The recession had a real impact on the number of people getting their provisional licence, and therefore on the number of those taking their test.

“The increase we are starting to see in both these areas shows a real indication that the industry is beginning to spring back from the recession.

“Being able to drive is inextricably linked to employment for many people, so the surge may also be linked to an improvement in job prospects and people needing to travel for work.

“The rise may also indicate that some people have been putting off learning until they had more financial or job security and this pent up demand is now being released.

“The figures are a good sign that the economic recovery is starting to have a real impact on people’s day-to-day lives.

“Hopefully the fall in driving licence fees will help to ensure this positive trend continues.”

The release of these figures coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Approved Driving Instructor register being launched. The register was first launch in October 1964**** and was voluntary to begin with.

It marked the start of driving instruction becoming a professional career choice for thousands of people.

Applications to train as a driving instructor have also increased by 7.3 per cent in January to March 2014 when compared to the same period last year. For the financial year 2013/14 there were 7,414 first applications equating to a 16.1 per cent increase on the previous year.*****

BSM, founded in 1910, is the UK’s most experienced driving school. Its mission is to create the next generation of better, safer motorists.

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