According to the DVSA the number of young drivers taking their tests in automatic cars has tripled since 2008…
Young Drivers go Automatic
Back in 2008, just 3.8% of young learner drivers were taking their test in an automatic car. That figure, according to the DVSA, now sits at 14%. Taking a test in an automatic model means that one’s driving licence will only be valid for automatic vehicles; making it illegal to drive manuals.
Whilst automatics dominate in some countries, including America, British drivers have typically preferred manual models. However, some drivers regard automatics as easier to learn and use; making the driving experience less stressful. Notably, all fully-electric cars are automatic by their very nature; meaning that manuals are facing the prospect of being gradually phased out.
Preparing for EVs?
Edmund King, President of the AA, believes young people are taking tests in automatic cars because they’re interested in EVs. As a consequence, the organisation will be offering electric car driving lessons this year. These will place emphasis on conserving battery power and using a drive with one pedal.
However, not everyone thinks the trend is a product of enthusiasm for electric motors. Tom Webster, a motor journalist, believes EVs are still too expensive for most young drivers. Speaking to Newsbeat, he said “the traditional small car that first time buyers are looking at, only a couple of them have recently started going electric. They are expensive to buy brand new, and it’s going to take time for them to come down in price to the extent that young drivers will be able to afford them”.
He added, “a lot of young people live in towns and cities, a lot of towns and cities don’t have off street parking, so it’s very hard to get your own charging point at home that you’ll always be able to rely on”. Ultimately, then, the rise in automatic tests might simply be due to declining stigma and greater access to automatic models.
Oxford Zero Emission Zone Will Go Live In February – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/oxford-zero-emission-zone-will-go-live-in-february/
British Motorist Caught Driving Whilst Distracted Nine Times – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/british-motorist-caught-driving-whilst-distracted-nine-times/