Busting UK driving age rumours

Lesson Type
Last updated: 12 Nov 2019

Every now and again, rumours regarding the UK driving age being raised to 18-years-old start to circulate. These driving age rumours have been around for as long as people have been taking driving tests, so we look at whether or not there’s any truth to them.

True, there’s a lot of talk at the moment about how to make the roads safer for young drivers. Some groups, such as the RAC and Brake, are calling for massive overhauls of the way that people learn to drive. They’ve recommended a graduated licence system, a one-year minimum learning period and a two year probationary period after the learner has passed his/her test.

This all sounds like bad news for learner drivers, but it really isn’t anything to worry about. All of the above are currently just suggestions.

Driving age rumours, busted:

The driving age is rising to 18

In October 2013, the Transport Research Laboratory put forward a green paper proposing that the driving age should be increased to 18. Although there are currently no firm plans to enforce this, the government will consider the plans when they are presented.

They’re introducing a minimum number of driving lessons

False. You may have read some of the recommendations that various organisations are making to the government to help boost new drivers’ safety on the roads. None of those suggestions have yet been adopted.

Night-time driving is being added to the driving test

False. How would this even work? Would examiners have to schedule tests for 10:00pm in the summer?

Motorway driving is being added to the driving test

False. The motorway is fast-paced, busy and can be very, very intimidating for inexperienced learners. It’s very unlikely that learner drivers will ever be allowed on the motorway.

UK driving age rules The driving ages rules in the UK currently go something like this:

  • You can apply for your provisional licence up to three months before you can start driving.
  • You can start driving at 17. However, if you’re receiving the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) you are allowed to start driving at 16.
  • In order to obtain a full UK driving licence, you must pass the theory test (both multiple choice and hazard perception parts) and the practical test. The practical driving test currently consists of an eyesight check, two vehicle safety questions, a 40-minute driving ability test (70 minutes if you’re retesting after a disqualification) and 10 minutes of independent driving.

Image via Will Jackson@Flickr