RAC Cars News


Young People Can't Afford To Get Behind The Wheel

By raccars Published

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A recent survey by a price comparison website has shown that young people are being prevented from taking to the road by the high cost of motoring. Of the 17-25 age group, more than a third said that learning to drive, buying and running a car was beyond their budget.

Driving has never been a particularly cheap adventure for young motorists but with the soaring cost of car insurance and other associated costs of running a vehicle in recent years, young people are being priced off the road altogether. Almost a third of survey respondents claimed that public transport was a cheaper way to get around.

Of those who don't own cars, one in five said they feel restricted and trapped in their homes by the shortage of transport. A further concern is that lack of transport could restrict job opportunities for an age group already struggling to find employment.

The young survey respondents who have managed to buy cars of their own spend an average £1,831.40 on an annual basis to keep their cars on the road. Eighty per cent spend almost a third of their income on running a car, rising to more than £2,000 per year for almost 40%. This is on top of the original £1,831 average cost of driving lessons and obtaining a licence.

One in five young motorists is obliged to get financial help from their parents to be able to get on the road and about 15% cannot afford to buy a car after passing a test and obtaining a licence. The problem is that in order to cut costs, young motorists are in danger of committing insurance fraud by 'fronting', whereby a more experienced driver is named as the principal user of a vehicle on the insurance policy, to keep the cost of premiums down. While this has long been a popular practice, it is illegal.

One bright spot on the horizon is the introduction of 'black box' insurance policies, a scheme where insurance companies install a 'black box' recorder into cars, to monitor driving behaviour. Those whose driving is revealed to be safer can then benefit from reduced premiums. Other policy conditions involve restricting an individual's driving hours, banning them from the road from 11pm-5am, for example. While not all drivers are happy to comply with constant surveillance or limitations on their driving, ultimately programmes that help to reduce the cost of motoring for young people are to be welcomed.

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