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Learner drivers saving money by ditching driving instructors

A new survey says that learner drivers are saving money by shunning driving instructors. Book Theory Test Today investigates…

Just one in four learner drivers are relying on tuition from a qualified driving instructor for lessons. According to a new poll, commissioned by vouchercloud, many are relying on friends and family to help them with their driving skills.

Why are learner drivers ditching driving instructors?

The top reason is cost, with lessons now averaging £22.50 an hour learner drivers deem lessons with a driving instructor to be too expensive.

The poll found that of the 2,178 learners surveyed, who had passed their DVSA practical driving test in the last two years, just 26 per cent had been taught by a qualified instructor.

Commenting on the research, vouchercloud said: “Initially, all respondents were asked ‘who did you do take the majority of your driving lessons with?’

Almost half of respondents – 46 per cent – stated ‘a family member’ had taught them, with remaining respondents admitting the majority of their lessons had been with either ‘a friend’ (28 per cent) or a ‘qualified driving instructor’ (26 per cent).”

Driving test pass rates not affected

Despite the apparent move away from using qualified driving instructors, test pass rates appear to be unaffected. Figures for January – March 2015 reveal that 46.5 per cent of learner drivers passed their test, a percentage that has seen little change over the past eight years.

Matthew Wood, vouchercloud’s managing director, said: “When you realise those who turn to their family and friends can save so much money, it’s actually a wonder that more people aren’t just using instructors for a few lessons before taking their test.

That saving of over £600 could go towards the cost of a first car, an insurance policy or even treating yourself and those who have helped you to pass your test.”  

However, the Driving Instructor’s Association reacted angrily to vouchercloud’s comments. Carly Brookfield, the organisation’s chief executive, labelled the comments ‘irresponsible’ and ‘astonishing.’

She said: “This may promote the idea that it’s a good idea to cut the costs of learning to drive because so many other people are already doing it. According to the latest [UK] Department for Transport analysis, the statistics for people killed and seriously injured on the roads are up again, with newly qualified drivers being over represented.

She added: “One of the reasons could very well be poor driver training – people short-cutting on learning to drive by using unqualified, inexperienced and inexpert friends and family to ‘teach’ them to save costs.

What they save on not learning to drive properly, they pay out in terms of accident and repair costs, vehicle maintenance, insurance costs or, sadly, injury or loss of life.”  

Book Theory Test Today says: “There’s no reason why the two can’t work hand-in-hand. Take lessons with experienced friends and family, then take a few lessons with instructors to rid you of bad habits. Theoretically, when you factor in putting a learner driver on a vehicle’s insurance policy, then add fuel costs, it works out more expensive anyway.

The benefit of using a qualified instructor is that learner drivers don’t have to worry about the insurance, the fuel costs or vehicle maintenance.”

What’s your view? Leave a comment.

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