1.3m new drivers set to get behind the wheel in year ahead, research finds

Direct Line estimates that more than half a million motorists would have passed their test in the past year, had they been able to.

Vicky Shaw
Friday 13 August 2021 00:01
Direct Line says 1.3 million new drivers could take to Britain’s roads in the coming year (PA)
Direct Line says 1.3 million new drivers could take to Britain’s roads in the coming year (PA)

As many as 1.3 million new drivers could take to Britain’s roads in the coming year as a tests backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic is cleared, an insurer predicts.

Direct Line which analysed pass rates, estimates around 520,000 motorists would have passed their test in the past year if they had been able to take it.

It said that when these are added to 750,000 learner drivers typically passing their test annually, it means nearly 1.3 million people could pass their test this coming year.

Earlier this week, the Insurance Fraud Bureau warned cash-strapped new drivers to beware of scams such as “ghost broking”, where criminals pose as brokers to offer fake insurance for unrealistically cheap prices.

Direct Line’s research also found that the pass rate for 2020/21 was the highest for more than five years. While significantly fewer people were able to take their test, the pandemic pass rate was 49.8%.

Direct Line said the driving test pass rate for 2020/21 was the highest for more than five years (PA)

Parents have stood in for driving instructors during the pandemic, Direct Line found, with 26% of those with full licences helping their child to learn.

Most (91%) of those learning to drive during the pandemic said the effects have had a positive impact on their experience, according to Direct Line.

Being able to practice on quieter roads was seen as the most positive factor and having more time to practice with a family member was also highly valued.

Lorraine Price, head of motor insurance at Direct Line, said: “It was a shame to see that learner drivers were so heavily affected by the pandemic as being able to drive is a pivotal part of a young person’s journey to independence.

“But it is inspiring to see that this has not deterred this generation of learners, who have had to be flexible and have adapted to this unique situation to achieve the highest pass rate in years.

“Overall, it’s extremely encouraging to see that the desire to get on to the road safely still remains despite the hurdle of the pandemic.”