Young Adults’ Licence Holding and Driving Behaviour in the UK

  • Published: RAC Foundation, December 2014
  • Authors: Berrington, A., Mikolai, J.
  • Date Added: 12 Jan 2018
  • Last Update: 12 Jan 2018
  • Format: doc


The aim of this report was to investigate relations between the demographic and socioeconomic circumstances of young adults and car-driving behaviour in the United Kingdom. The article also provides data on license holding among teenagers.


Analyses were based on data from “Understanding Society – the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Survey” (UKHLS), that were conducted in 2009–2010 (wave 1) and 2010–2011 (wave 2). It is a household panel study that follows the same households over time. Data collection for each wave of the survey took place over two calendar years on a nationally representative sample of around 40,000 households.

Key Findings:

  • In 2009-2010, the share of full driving license holders among males aged from 17 to 19 living in urban areas other than the London area amounted to 39% and in the case of females with the same socio-demographical characteristics - to 29%.

  • Among London’s inhabitants from the same age group, there is a difference of about 10 percentage points in the share of full driving license holders in the group of men and in the group of women aged 17 to 19 years old.

  • There was no apparent difference in the number of full driving license holders among male and female rural inhabitants aged 17 to 19 years old, almost every second person from these groups had a full driving license.

  • Share of employed young adults aged 17 to 19 years old in 2009-2010, who were commuting to work by driving a car themselves amounted to 29%, and in the group of 20 to 24 years old it was 46%.