Factors Associated With Young Adults Delaying and Forgoing Driving Licenses: Results From Britain
Objective: To identify the reasons that young adults (age 17–29) in Britain delay or forgo driving license acquisition.
Methods: Using year 2010 British National Travel Survey microdata, we first analyze self-reported reasons (including their prioritisation) for not holding a full car driving license and then estimate a logistic regression model for license-holding to investigate additional factors, several of which extend from previous studies. This study also employs a novel segmentation approach to analyze the sets of reasons that individual young adults cite for not driving.
Results: These results show that, despite the lack of a graduated driving license system at present, many young adults indicate that issues associated with the driving license acquisition process are the main reason they do not hold a full driving license. About 3 in 10 young adults can be interpreted as not viewing driving as a priority, though half of those without a license are either learning to drive or are deterred principally by the cost of learning. We calculate that after their 17th birthday (the age of eligibility for a full driving license) young adults spend a mean of 1.7 years learning to drive.
Young adults citing the costs of insurance or car purchase are likely to cite them as secondary rather than the main reason for not driving, whereas those citing physical/health difficulties are very likely to cite this as the main reason they do not drive. Two distinct groups of young people are identified that both indicate that costs deter them from driving—one group that is less well off financially and that indicates that costs alone are the primary deterrent and one that reports that other reasons also apply and is better off. Status as an international migrant was found to be an important factor, net of confounding variables, for identifying that a young adult in Britain does not hold a driving license. Further research is needed to understand the relative saliency of plausible causal mechanisms for this finding. We also report that both personal income and household income are independently positively associated with license-holding but that (intuitively) the relationship of license holding with a young adult's own personal income is the much stronger of the two.
Conclusions: On the basis of these findings, it can be concluded that a number of previously underappreciated factors appear to be linked with young British adults not acquiring a driving license.