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Making the grade

Though public transport can get you from one place to another, there's nothing like driving your own car. But before you hop behind the wheel, you have got to pass the test. We explore driving test pass rates and the change in vehicle registrations over time.

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MAKING THE GRADE

Licencing and Driving Tests in Great Britain

Though public transport can get you from one place to another, there’s nothing like driving your own car. But before you hop behind the wheel, you’ve got to pass the test. The number of people taking their driving test and registering new vehicles has changed over time, as can be expected with the proliferation of private cars. But recent years have shown a slight decline in numbers. We explore driving test pass rates and these changes in registrations over time.

MOTORING TRENDS OVER TIME

Your Own Private Vehicle

As private vehicles become more commonplace, a greater percentage of households have access to a car or van. And since 2002, more households have had access to two or more vehicles than no access at all.

Percent of Households with Access to Car or Van
1951                 14%
2010                 75%

 

Driving Less Each Year

Though there are more drivers on the road, the average distance travelled by car each year is down. After 15 years, the average car drove roughly 1,200 fewer miles in 2010.

Average Annual Mileage of 4-Wheeled Cars
1995/97             9,700
2010                 8,430

 

LICENCING AND REGISTERING

More Licenced Drivers

In the mid-1970s, fewer than half of those eligible actually held a full driving licence. By 1998 that number had grown to roughly 71 percent, and has maintain roughly the same since then.

Percent of Eligible Population With a Full Driving Licence
1975/76             48%
2010                  73%

 

New Vehicles Every Year

Though there are millions of new vehicles registered for the first time each year, the number peaked in the early 2000s. Other than 2009, the latest data for 2010 is the lowest since 1996.

Total New Vehicles Registered
1951     414,000
2010     2.4 million

 

MAKING THE GRADE: THE UK DRIVING TEST

Number of Test-Takers Slip Recently

The total number of applicants taking their driving test in Great Britain has fallen in recent years compared to a high in 2005/06. Though the number of test-takers in 2010/11 was up slightly from the year prior.

 

Male Versus Female Pass Rates

On average, fewer than 50 per cent of the test-takers pass the driving test in Great Britain. The pass rate has varied slightly over time, but men have a consistently higher pass rate than women.

 

SOURCE: TRANSPORT STATISTICS GREAT BRITAIN, DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT STATISTICS


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