Declining number of new drivers?

Jan 20, 2023
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As a percentage of those in their late teens. No, I have no idea if (as a percentage of teenagers, not total number) if there is a decline, but it's something we've noticed among our daughters circle of friends. When I turned 17, me and most of my mates starting learning to drive straight away, best-guess is that only 5% waited for a few years, but by our late teens, we all had cars.

Our daughter is 19 and decided not to learn to drive yet as she's at university, but when we were talking to her she was telling us how she only knows two people that drive and none of her friends really have any interest in learning. There reasons were that the high cost of driving are the initial put-off but with the advent of the Uber app system there isn't really an inconvenience with not having a car. An Uber is with you quickly and you don't have the financial head-ache of car ownership.

It seems alien to me as I've always been a petrol-head, BUT when I think about it, it kind of makes sense if you're living in a reasonable sized town/city.

The world and people's attitudes sure do change quickly.............
 
Nov 6, 2005
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The number and cost of driving lessons plus the initial cost of insurance is putting off many youngsters - particularly where public transport is easily accessible - they have "better" things to spend their money.
 
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Aug 24, 2020
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I think you're right - I had my first driving lesson on my 17th birthday, as did most of the people I was at sixth form with.

Gozza junior (21) is currently learning to drive and I'm pretty certain he's only bothering because his girlfriend lives 10 miles away and there's no public transport between - at least not without more than doubling the length of the journey and throwing in at least three changes. Girlfriend passed her test a couple of years ago and has her own car (bought by her stepdad and worth more than mine*), but doesn't like driving and will take a huge detour to avoid the motorway.

Luckily I like driving...

* for anyone who compares posts looking for inconsistencies, I don't mean her car is worth more than our 23 reg Citroen - that's Mrs Gozza's except when we're towing. Girlfriend's car is worth more than my heap of junk Vauxhall Corsa.
 
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I suppose another possibility for some is there doesn't seem to be the fascination with cars like there used to be. I restore classic cars as a hobby and youngsters look at me as if I'm mad, they just don't seem to have the connection with the automobile like we had in years gone by.
 
Aug 24, 2020
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I suppose another possibility for some is there doesn't seem to be the fascination with cars like there used to be. I restore classic cars as a hobby and youngsters look at me as if I'm mad, they just don't seem to have the connection with the automobile like we had in years gone by.
That's also true - when I learned to drive I also did a "basic care maintenance" course at night school and could do most maintenance tasks myself. Having a car was a hobby. Cars nowadays are more complex and I just do oil and water and tyre pressures (and checking tyre treads). On the Vauxhall, even replacing a blown headlight bulb means disassembling the air filter assembly - or on the nearside, taking the battery out.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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I suppose another possibility for some is there doesn't seem to be the fascination with cars like there used to be. I restore classic cars as a hobby and youngsters look at me as if I'm mad, they just don't seem to have the connection with the automobile like we had in years gone by.
I was and probably still is a bit of a petrol head. Love the sound of a V8. I wonder how many do not bother to do the driving test, but drive anyway hoping they will never get caught? I started driving at age 15 and got my licence the same month that I turned 18.
 
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Cars nowadays are more complex and I just do oil and water and tyre pressures (and checking tyre treads).
So true BUT I sometimes think we get convinced they are more complex to dissuade us from touching them. I took my wife's 2017 Fiat 500C in for a service and MoT today, I could do it myself easily and used to do her previous car (2011 Ford Ka, basically a Fiat 500 in different clothes) but started having the Fiat done at a local independent garage as I just couldn't be bothered to grovel around underneath it. It doesn't get used much and at it's sixth year service has just ticked round to 9,000 miles. It had a full service plus MoT today, £376.44...........

I'm on my second Volvo V90 (a 2022 petrol B4), previously I had the same model but a 2018 diesel D4. Volvo service costs were eye-watering but the crunch cam when at it's third service they quoted me £380 for new front brake pads. I bought a set from the local motor factor for £60 and fitted them myself, both sides at a lazy pace took me 40 minutes. I have to conclude though that anything else is pretty much dealer-specific. Even the oil on the current one is some very specific type that has to be ordered in.

I also think that a few years ago a car was a significant financial investment and folks wanted to keep them in good condition to protect their investment, nowadays a lot are bought on some never-owning/lease scheme so the personal connection with car ownership just isn't there......
 
Jul 19, 2021
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My daughters friend has just passed her test, 18 years old.Best quote for the family run about is over £3000 per year.
With the cost of buying a car , running it and taxing it it's no surprise that there are fewer new drivers.
My youngest is learning at the moment to hopfully get the test passed before uni next year, but she is under no illusion that she will have a car before her mid 20's.
Cheaper to get an uber or Dad's taxi
 
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The other thing we've noticed is the decline of driving instructors using a manual car, there's a growing number switching to automatics as there's a growing number preferring to choose an auto-only driving future.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Spot on Gary.
I had my first 50 cc moped , non runner when I was 15. Did it up and passed my bike rest three weeks after my 16th. Similarly passed the car test a month after 17 th. In the blood. Son and daughter were both 17 when they passed. Have wheels will travel.
Grandson at 15 shows no interest at all in driving even though he’s lucky the family can afford to get him through. Must be a 21st century cult thing🤪🤪
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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The other thing we've noticed is the decline of driving instructors using a manual car, there's a growing number switching to automatics as there's a growing number preferring to choose an auto-only driving future.
Perhaps the advent of PHEV and EV influences new drivers. My grandsons partner learnt on an auto and when she passed her test she went straight in to driving his 5 series PHEV. She doesn’t ever anticipate driving a manual car in the future as when the BMW goes it will be full EV.
 
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Aug 12, 2023
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There are lot more options for getting around especially in a city. Public transport, escooters ebikes (hire or own), 50cc or electric equivalent scooters. Uber, Car hireage by hour.

The hire by minute escooters and ebikes are very convenient and can be reasonably priced if on frequent user plan. Park anywhere and not worry about theft, maintenance or charging which is issue with ownership. In big cities both these options are often quicker than car point to point especially once you factor in parking car and walking to destination.

If we didn't need to tow a boat or caravan could probably get by without car as we both have ebikes.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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There are lot more options for getting around especially in a city. Public transport, escooters ebikes (hire or own), 50cc or electric equivalent scooters. Uber, Car hireage by hour.

The hire by minute escooters and ebikes are very convenient and can be reasonably priced if on frequent user plan. Park anywhere and not worry about theft, maintenance or charging which is issue with ownership. In big cities both these options are often quicker than car point to point especially once you factor in parking car and walking to destination.

If we didn't need to tow a boat or caravan could probably get by without car as we both have ebikes.
Sadly there are people with mobility issues who cannot use escooters or ebikes around the town and a mobility scooter maybe too bulky to cart around.
 
May 7, 2012
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The cost of learning to drive does put off many but the insurance after that can be the killer. Possibly the best option is to take the test and be added to a parents car, even if you drive very little, then in a few years time you should have a clean driving record, assuming you are accident free.
 
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The current test requires the candidate to drive following a sat nav temporarily installed and programmed by the examiner. Failure to follow instructions may be a test failure.
I wonder how learners are taught to use the gear paddles on their autos🤔
 
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The current test requires the candidate to drive following a sat nav temporarily installed and programmed by the examiner. Failure to follow instructions may be a test failure.
I wonder how learners are taught to use the gear paddles on their autos🤔
Not all autos have gear paddles. Mine doesn’t. If it were a testable aspect then driving school cars would have to have them and train the new driving pupil to use them. But I’m sure that once a pupil has passed their test and their own car possessed paddles they would either learn how to use them, or decide not to bother.

After all a lot on this Forum no doubt learnt on manuals but had no problem moving to autos with or without paddles which are a relatively recent introduction to mainstream autos.
 
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The added “problem” (or quirk I suppose) is that there are so many gadgets on cars now that sometimes differ between manufacturers. Electronic handbrakes, hill-hold etc. Even gear selectors on automatic cars can vary in design/operation. It was a lot easier learning in a manual Toyota Corolla back in 1986!!!!
 
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The added “problem” (or quirk I suppose) is that there are so many gadgets on cars now that sometimes differ between manufacturers. Electronic handbrakes, hill-hold etc. Even gear selectors on automatic cars can vary in design/operation. It was a lot easier learning in a manual Toyota Corolla back in 1986!!!!
A mere Youth. Triump Herald, for me in 1967, but had been driving Austin 8's in field and on beaches.
Parksy is bound hopefully, to join in about HGV driving having to Double declutch, Probably in an old Foden. 🤔
 
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Parksy

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A mere Youth. Triump Herald, for me in 1967, but had been driving Austin 8's in field and on beaches.
Parksy is bound hopefully, to join in about HGV driving having to Double declutch, Probably in an old Foden. 🤔
When I drove a Foden with a Fuller 4x4x4 constant mesh gearbox I rarely used the clutch.
Us proper wagon drivers changed gear using the torque breaking method. 😜
 
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A mere Youth. Triump Herald, for me in 1967, but had been driving Austin 8's in field and on beaches.
Parksy is bound hopefully, to join in about HGV driving having to Double declutch, Probably in an old Foden. 🤔
Ah well…… at the age of 16 (pre Toyota Corolla driving school car) I worked for my uncle at weekends and holidays, he had a business building and painting truck bodies. This was based on an old air base in Derbyshire. As it was private property driving on site for me was fine. No license and underage was no problem (apparently). I knew how to drive so I had a few lessons by my uncle on site so I could help out. The vehicle to learn in was a 1958 Seddon Atkinson which was used to move trailers between the workshop, paint shop and shot blaster. A “magic wand” gear stick with six gears where every one of them felt like neutral and no synchromesh. After a few hours lurching round the site I soon got the hang of it but the engine had so much torque that pulling away in third and then sticking to 20mph meant that changing gear wasn’t strictly necessary. Nowadays my uncle would probably be classed as irresponsible and everything else but as a 16 year old petrol head it was great.
 
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My old series 2 land rover didn't need the clutch to change gear, when the clutch pushrod wore out, for a couple of week I would start it in first gear and just pull away, a bit hairy at first in traffic but you got used to it. Just slid it into neutral when stopping.
Obviously not in London traffic.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Finding parkbrake and fuel release on new car can be mission these days. European's are worst at putting common controls in unusual places.
My 2010 Volvo XC70 had its electronic parking brake small lever low down on the dash on right hand side of the steering wheel. Very ergonomic. At least my current car has it in a prominent spot central just behind the gear lever. Easy to grab if need be without looking. But with Autohold I rarely use the Parking brake except when parking.
 
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My old series 2 land rover didn't need the clutch to change gear, when the clutch pushrod wore out, for a couple of week I would start it in first gear and just pull away, a bit hairy at first in traffic but you got used to it. Just slid it into neutral when stopping.
Obviously not in London traffic.
So even then you were trying to stop air pollution with start stop ;) ;)
 
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