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Young people and driving

26 April 2023

An “overwhelming majority” of young people aged 17 to 24 expect to be driving regularly in the future.

Aside from those unable to drive because of a disability of health condition, more than 8 out of 10 (85%) think it is certain or likely they will be driving a car or van at least once a week by 2035, even though only little over half (56%) currently do so now.

The numbers are revealed in a survey by Ipsos for the RAC Foundation. The full report can be viewed at  Ipsos report racfoundation.or.

Over three quarters of those aged 17–24 questioned as part of this survey had some form of valid UK driving licence, either full (49%) or provisional (27%).

The most common reasons given by those questioned for believing they will start driving include an expectation their lifestyles will require it and a belief that driving will be more convenient for them than either public transport or active travel (such as walking and cycling).

Amongst those questioned who had not taken a driving test the most common reasons given for not doing so were:

Cost of lessons (33%)

Cost of buying, leasing or hiring a car (26%)

Lack of time (26%)

Driving not a priority (23%)

Young people recognised that driving is set to change in the coming years, and many were optimistic about it with 70% feeling positive about electric cars, though there was a split in opinion about the roll out of fully autonomous vehicles with 37% supporting it but a similar number (35%) opposing it.

There is a broader recognition of the need to reduce the environmental impact of driving. Four in ten (40%) of those who drive regularly said they have already cut down on the car journeys they make, while a further 40% who have not yet cut down on car journeys said they’d be willing to do so over the next five years.



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