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Learners shift to auto causing doubts about manual’s future

  • March 7, 2024
  • 2 min read
Learners shift to auto causing doubts about manual’s future

Over the past decade, driving tests in automatic cars have increased by 238%, with last year seeing a record high of over 325,000 tests, according to the DVLA. Around a fifth of tests are taken in automatics but with auto cars making up 71% of all registrations last year, there seems to be a trend away from manuals.

Experts believe this trend is down to young people seeing little need to learn in a manual, which can be more difficult and expensive. The average cost for a driving lesson is between £25 and £30 per hour, and can be as much as £45 in London according to the RAC. It takes an average of 45 hours of lessons to pass the test, amounting to over £2,000.

The popularity of autos is also thought to be due to car makers’ and engineering trends and an increased demand for electric cars, which lack a traditional gearbox. More instructors are also making the shift, with the AA saying that two in five people trained to be an instructor in an auto rather than a manual car.
Despite it being easier, pass rates for autos are lower than manuals with 43% of tests taken in an automatic resulting in a pass compared to 50% of manuals. It seems that while learning to drive may be quicker and easier with an auto, insurance costs may be higher due to the more complex parts, which cost more to repair. However, with modern technology, automatics may offer better fuel economy, saving money for drivers.

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Fahad Redha

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