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Learning to drive, is it really worth it?
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Learning to drive - is it really worth it?
Last updated: 31 January 2005 1136 GMT
lineTeenager Fay Daniels is getting increasingly frustrated with the various tests, delays and rising costs of learning to drive. In fact, she's beginning to wonder whether it's worth all the trouble...
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Being able to drive is seen by most as an essential skill. It's an invaluable talent and provides you with the freedom which many people crave. In past years however, learning to drive has become an ever more difficult and most importantly, an amazingly expensive process but is it really worth the hundreds, even thousands of pounds that it costs? Or is it a skill that people can really do without?

Expense

Learner plate

Turning 17 means teenagers living in the UK can start learning to drive a car, something many will have been looking forward to since they were young. But will they still be as keen when they realise the cost of not only the professional lessons - now around £20 for an hour - but the DVDs, books and test fees as well?

Getting to the stage where you are a full licence holder is a lot harder than it used to be. There's not only the practical driving test - learners now have to take a multiple choice theory exam, then sit a hazard perception assessment as well as answer maintenance questions about the car. This turns most people into a nervous wreck and it's not surprising that the national pass rate is getting lower by the day and is now around a dismal 42%.

Is it all worth it?

quoteI'm beginning to ask is it all worth it?quote
Fay Daniels

Personally I've been learning to drive for nearly three months now, clocking up one theory test, around 40 hours of professional tuition, sadly, one failed practical test and too much money to even bare thinking about, along the way. Now I'm beginning to ask is it all worth it?

I failed my first test at the beginning of January after waiting a long two months to sit it. It was the most nerve wracking thing I've ever done - way above taking GCSEs or having a job interview - and I think the pressure is on learners even more by the need to pass first time… or face yet more ridiculous sums of money and at least a month long waiting list (three months in some parts of the country) until you can go through the 'privilege' again. Maybe, if you could get another test date within two weeks, and not have to pay £42 for 40 minutes driving, failing wouldn't seem such a big deal.

Third class service

Learner drivers are getting a third class service from the DSA and having to pay a fortune to receive it. It desperately needs to be sorted out and fast.

Unfortunately, like the majority of the population, I see driving as a necessity. The freedom of being able to jump in a car, not needing to wait for a bus, walk in the rain or rely on other people is a massive advantage to me, so for now, I'll just to put up with the money and waiting until I hear those precious words 'You've passed!'.

Article by Fay Daniels

This article contains user-generated content (i.e. external contribution) expressing a personal opinion, not the views of BBC Gloucestershire.

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