Lessons prepare us to fail say UK’s young drivers

20 August 2013

  • New report shows 62% of young drivers are in favour of a minimum learning period
  • 24% say an accident they were involved in could have been avoided if more time was spent learning
  • Almost a third (29%) say they cannot drive alone after passing their driving test

Young drivers say lessons are failing to prepare them for life on the roads and want an overhaul of the learning process to better equip the next generation of motorists according to a new report.

After passing their driving tests many young people are not ready to face everyday situations such as driving on motorways, on their own or in the dark.

As a result of their experiences as new drivers, an overwhelming 62% support the introduction of a minimum learning period.

These are amongst the findings of the report – launched today by telematics leader The Co-operative Insurance – examining the views and experiences of young drivers.  It comes ahead of a Green Paper set to be published later this year outlining Government plans on how to tackle the safety of young drivers and cut insurance costs.

Almost half (48%) felt unprepared for motorway driving after passing their driving test and around one in three (29%) find they are not ready for night-time driving. The same number (29%) say they are incapable of driving alone after passing their test.

The study also found that one in seven new young drivers (14%) consider themselves to be ‘unprepared’ to drive at all.

James Hillon, Director of General Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: “A lot of public debate is taking place on how safety can be improved and insurance premiums cut for young drivers, but the views of young motorists themselves are rarely heard.

“Far from being the stereotypical image of the ‘boy-racer’, this study shows that many are not confident to face everyday situations on Britain’s roads in the early years, despite months of lessons.  Young people say that the current system fails to prepare them for driving on motorways, on their own or in poor conditions.

“They want to see a more comprehensive approach and are hugely in favour of a minimum learning period for all new drivers to fully prepare them, and we fully support this.

“It’s startling that one in four young drivers who have had an accident believe it could have been prevented if they had taken more time to learn to drive before taking their test.”

The study is based on the views of over 2,000 young drivers*.  Almost half (44%) have been involved in a road accident in the early years of driving and 24% say it could have been prevented if they had spent more time learning to drive.

Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said: “Improving young drivers’ safety is a priority for the Government – that is why we have already improved the driving test so that it better reflects real-life conditions on the road, rather than focusing on specific manoeuvres.

“We are also considering a range of options to ensure learners and newly qualified drivers are properly prepared for the road and we will publish our proposals later in the year.”

One in seven (14%) young drivers say they cannot face driving in the rain and one in five (21%) say lessons do not prepare them to drive with passengers.

This lack of confidence has led to young drivers deliberately going out of their way to avoid certain situations including motorway driving (21%) and driving in city centres (19%), while one in 12 (8%) will not turn right at busy junctions.

Despite this, one in 5 of those surveyed (18%) passed their driving test after spending three months or less learning to drive and 50% took six months or less to pass.

James Hillon added: “Our experience with telematics has shown that the majority of young motorists are taking a sensible approach to driving but it appears the current learning system is not providing a springboard from which to become a confident and capable driver.

“We hope that the Government will take into account the views of young drivers as part of their package of reforms.”

Since The Co-operative introduced telematics for young drivers in 2011 those with the Smartbox have been 20% less likely to have a car crash** and their insurance premiums have been cut on average by over £400***.

Adrian Walsh, director of road safety group RoadSafe, added: “'The report highlights the seriousness with which many young people approach driving and their enthusiasm to learn more before they are qualified to take to the road on their own.”

The report - Young Drivers: Are they ready for the road? – is available at http://www.co-operative.coop/corporate/Young_Drivers_are_they_ready_for_the_road.pdf


Additional Information:

*Research conducted by One Poll for The Co-operative Insurance of 2,000 drivers aged 18 – 30 years old.

**An analysis of 10,000 young driver claims by The Co-operative Insurance shows that those with telematics insurance are 20 per cent less likely to have a car crash than those with standard insurance.

***The average Young Driver Insurance premium for 17 to 22 year olds is £1,345 – over £400 cheaper less than the average premium of £1,753. According to the AA Premium Index, April 2013: The average ‘shoparound’ premium for 17 to 22 year olds is £1,753.69. This is based on the average of the five cheapest insurance premiums for that age group.


Contact Information: 

Samantha Shale
Public Relations Officer,
The Co-operative Banking Group
t: 0161 767 4258  m: 07770 441 828
E-mail: samantha.shale@cfs.coop


Andy Hammerton
Public Relations Manager Corporate,
The Co-operative Banking Group
t: 0161 767 4252  m: 07799 476 977
E-mail: andy.hammerton@cfs.coop



About The Co-operative Banking Group


The Co-operative Banking Group, formerly known as The Co-operative Financial Services, is the banking and insurance arm of The Co-operative Group, which is the world’s largest consumer co-operative with around seven million members, over £13 billion turnover, and core business interests in financial services, food, legal services, pharmacy and funeral care. 


The Co-operative Banking Group has £48 billion in assets, 10,000 staff and more than six million customers.  It has over 300 high street branches, 22 corporate banking centres and major presences in Manchester, Leek, London, Plymouth, Skelmersdale and Stockport. 


About RoadSafe


RoadSafe is a leading forum for promoting and devising solutions to road safety problems.  RoadSafe's mission is to reduce road deaths and injuries by sharing knowledge and encouraging innovation for the safe design and use of roads and vehicles.


RoadSafe works in partnership with companies in the private sector, government, traffic engineers, the police, public health authorities and road safety professionals to promote the safe design and use of vehicles and roads by sharing knowledge and encouraging innovation.