Learner Drivers Spent Almost £1.7bn Learning To Drive in 2018 & 2019

Learner Drivers Spent Almost £1.7bn Learning To Drive in 2018 & 2019


We’ve analysed data from the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) and the Office of National Statistics in order to uncover any key patterns throughout the process of learning to drive in the UK.

Driving lessons

Our key findings include:

  • Over 1.2million learner drivers passed their theory test between April 2018 and March 2019
  • Learners between 2018 and 2019 spent £1,679,602,087.12 learning to drive
  • The average learner will spend £1,222.47 on driving lessons, plus an additional £23 for a theory test and £62 for their practical driving test
  • It costs eight times as much to learn self-defence or play the piano – with learning to drive, we feel, a far more valuable life lesson to have in the long-term

So, who has the best chances of passing their theory and practical tests?

Gen Z learners, those aged 17 and 18 years old, have the highest first time pass rate of any age group (50% overall), however both male and female learners are statistically more likely to pass on their fourth and fifth driving test attempts, with their chances increasing to between 54% and 56%.

When it comes to taking the theory test, 49.1% of female learners pass first time, compared to 45.6% male learners who pass first time.

However, male learners are most likely to pass their practical test, with a pass rate of 49.7% compared to female learners pass rate of 46%.

Not everyone who passes their theory test will pass their practical test in the same year

1,266,796 Britons passed their theory test between April 2018 and March 2019, but only 761,791 went on to pass their practical test.

Whilst it may be that some passed their theory test later in the year and haven’t yet gone on to take their practical test, the results would suggest that some aren’t having such luck at passing the practical, with many failing on the first few attempts:

 Attempt 1Attempt 2Attempt 3 Attempt 4Attempt 5Attempt 6+
Male 183,271 97,731 50,340 25,578 13,354 16,435
Female 158,122 94,905 53,124 29,611 16,441 22,879

Learners invest over £1.7bn in 12 months

  • The average learner requires 47 hours of driving lessons (although some will require less and some will require more – it’s all about ensuring you’re as safe on the road as possible)
  • The average cost of a one hour driving lesson in the UK is £26.01
  • Theory tests cost £23 per attempt
  • Practical driving tests cost £62 per attempt

Looking at all of the above figures (the average learner spends £1,222.47 on lessons, assuming they pass their theory test the first time, and looking at how much learners have invested so far on their driving tests – with a pass or fail result), we worked out that learners spend £1,679,602,087.12 on learning to drive and attempting to pass their test between 2018 and 2019.

How does this compare to other life skills?

Learning to drive is actually very affordable when you consider other life skills that Britons are investing in.

People who want to learn self-defence will spend on average £20 to £35 per lesson, investing at least five to seven years of their lives.

Those who wish to master the piano will spend on average £40 to £60 per lesson and have to invest 10 to 15 years of their lives.

Both have a starting cost of £10,400, assuming they pay the lower end of the bracket for one lesson per week and only invest the minimum number of years.

Yet learning to drive costs as little as £1,307.47.

What the experts say…

Peter Brabin, Head of Training at Bill Plant Driving School said:

“Learning to drive is an important life skill for everyone involved; and it’s not about passing your tests in as few lessons as possible, or working with as cheap an instructor as you can find – it’s about ensuring you’re 100% ready and safe to be on the road by yourselves. People invest tens of thousands into learning various other life skills, including self-defence and piano lessons, and in comparison it’s actually incredibly cheap to learn to drive and opens many more doors.”