Scots L-drivers stung 13 | 10 | 2010

    THIS IS NOT what you want to read if you're about to start preparing an eager 17-year-old for their driving test: Scotland is the most expensive place to learn to drive in UK.

    While the average UK price for an hour's lesson with a driving school is £22.30, in Scotland the figure is £24.03, according to the survey. And with most learners requiring an average of 45 hours of lessons before they pass the driving test, the total cost of taking lessons for Scots comes in at £1081.

    "The situation is that Scotland has about 8% of the UK population, and that's spread mainly through the Central Belt," Howard Redwood, head of road safety at the Driving Instructors Association, said as he highlighted the high cost of lessons in Scotland was down to the demands of demographics and also the geographic spread of population.

    "So if you've got lots of driving instructors, they still have to make money and that affects the costs, especially in Scotland where instructors also have to drive further because of the geographical spread of population.

    "You have to take into account that an instructor has to earn £10.20 an hour just to cover the costs of running the car. That's excluding tax and paying themselves a salary."

    Now I'm not quite sure here, but I would have thought if, as Mr Redwood highlighted, Scotland has "lots of driving instructors", there's a supply-and-demand argument for learners to renegotiate the rate downwards. Mr Redwood, of course, also highlighted that, in real terms, the cost of learning to drive was extremely low given its potential benefits.

    "If you have a 17-year-old wanting to learn to drive, then they potentially have their licence for at least 53 years," he continued. "If you look at the potential cost of learning to drive in relation to this period of time, it works out at just about 40p a week, which is less than the price of a packet of crisps.

    "Half of the problem is that people do not value their driver's licence. They treat it as if it fell out of a box of cereal. But in learning to drive they are developing lifelong skills; ones that can help develop their careers. Statistically, it's estimated that having a clean driver's licence can add 12% to an employee's salary."

    According to the poll, carried out by Yell.com, Welsh learner drivers get the best deal, with the average hourly rate of manual or automatic lessons in Wales being £19.99 and the overall cost of becoming road-ready therefore being £899.55.

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    Jim McGill

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