We have put together some data regarding driving licence statistics in the UK. The majority of the data has been sourced from data.gov.uk. These statistics are true as of September 2020.
The data below is not a representation of the amount of active drivers in the UK, this is data regarding the number of holders of licences, of course some of these holders may not own or drive a car currently. It is also worth noting that certain driving licence categories can be issued to 15 year olds, up to two months before their 16th birthday.
Young drivers licence statistics
Below is a table with the number of licences owned by people aged 15 - 21.
There are very few people aged 16 and under that have acquired a full driving licence, the numbers are also for provisional licence holders. There is a sharp increase in provisional licences for 17 years olds and onwards.
You can see that the numbers of provisional licence holders from ages 17-21, between male and females are almost identical. When it comes to full licences then that the difference widens, as many more males own a full licence than females.
In terms of provisional licences, the ages of 17-21 is where you will see the higher numbers. Beyond the age of 21 more and more people will successfully change their provisional licence into a full licence so the numbers for provisional licences begin to decrease as the age goes up.
Statics for driving licences from ages 22-30
The total number of people aged 22 with a provisional licence is 266,534 which is a decrease from the data for young drivers above. This number continues to decrease at every age above this.
As you can see there is a steady decrease in the number of provisional licence holders as age increases. It is interesting to note that there is almost no difference between male and females. The gap just begins to widen from the ages of 28 to 30 as there is a slightly higher number of female provisional licence holders. Statistically speaking, while the gap is not huge there is a greater number of males in general that own a full licence. This could explain why the number of provisional licences is higher in females.
This second graph shows that unlike the numbers for provisional licences held, full licences held increases as age increases.
The total number of full licences held for 22 year olds is 422,515, whereas the total number full licences held for 30 year olds is 672,085. This is a huge increase.
Another thing to note from this graph is you can see the gap between male and female full licence holders begin to widen.
Statistics for licences held by 31-70 year olds.
You may notice from the data below that the vast majority of licences held belong in the 48-58 age range. Specifically, the most popular age currently for holding a full licence is 55.
878,656 people in the UK aged 55 own a full licence, 470,867 of these being male, and 407,789 females.
You will also see a huge decline in the number of people who own a provisional licence in this age range.
The same pattern emerges again for male and female provisional licence holders. They both dip in numbers in the mid 40’s range and rise again in the 50’s before taking a sharp drop. This shows that gender appears to have no effect on the pattern. Despite the same pattern there is still a larger number of females that own a provisional licence. There are only 2263 70 years olds in the UK that own a provisional licence. 1139 males and 1124 females.
Again, there is a gap in numbers between males and females with full licences, the pattern between them is almost exactly the same.
Regarding 70 year olds there are 442,276 that own a full licence in the UK. That is a little more than half of the amount of 55 years olds that own a full licence.
Driving licence statistics in the over 70’s
We will now look at driving licence statistics from ages 71-108. The reason for the 108 specifically is because there is one person aged 108 that owns a full licence in the UK. This is the oldest licence holder. 108 is the only age where there are more female owners of the full licence than males, and there is one holder.
The oldest age for owning a provisional licence is 106, as there are two.
You might have expected it but the amount of provisional licence holders above the age of 71 decreases dramatically. All together for both male and females between these ages there are only 15,225 provisional licence holders.
Again, there is a clear pattern between males and females owning full licences in the over 70’s.
There are still a huge number of over 70’s who own a full licence, including both males and females together there is a total of 4,988,402.
Minimum driving age by country
Now that we have looked at driving licence statistics in the UK we can look at some information from around the world.
In the UK you can legally hold a licence at 17. But how does this differ in countries around the world? There is not too much of a difference, the age is most commonly set at 18 around the world, but we will take a look at some of the different continents rules regarding the minimum driving age.
Most countries in Africa have the minimum age set at 18 but there are a few exceptions. Cameroon, Zambia and Zimbabwe have it set at 16. There may be varying rules around holding a restricted licence in each country.
North America -
You can get a restricted licence at the age 16-17, this varies between states. A full licence will vary between 17-18.
In Mexico and Canada you can get a licence much younger. In Mexico you can drive at 15 with parental supervision or 16 with parental agreement. Without the supervision or agreement you can drive at 18.
Most provinces in Canada the legal age is 16, within the graduated licensing program (GLP). However in Yukon, Nunavut and the northwest territories the age is 15 with GLP. Even younger still, in Alberta the age is 14 with GLP.
Central America -
Most countries here have a minimum driving age of 18, with a few exceptions. You can drive at the age of 16 with parental approval in Guatemala and Panama. In El Salvador the minimum age is 15.
South America -
It is fairly straightforward in South America, the minimum age is either 17 or 18 depending on the country.
Again, most countries in the Caribbean have a minimum driving age of either 17 or 18. However there are 3 countries that have a minimum driving age of 16. These countries are Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The latter two needing a learners permit.
Middle East -
Many countries in the Middle East have different ages for driving cars and motorcycles. Most countries have a minimum age for driving cars at 18 and motorcycles at 16.
South Asia -
All countries bar one have a minimum driving age of 18. In Sri Lanka the driving age is 17.
East Asia -
All countries have a minimum driving age of 18. In Japan you are able to drive motorcycles under 400cc at the age of 16.
South East Asia -
The minimum age here varies from 17-18 depending on the country. In Vietnam and Malaysia you can drive a motorcycle at 16.
The majority of the countries here have a driving age of 17 or 18. In American Samoa, Guam and New Zealand you can drive at 16, with supervision. More specifically, there is a minimum driving age of 15 years and 6 months in Northern Mariana Islands.
There are many countries in Europe and the majority of them have a minimum driving age of 17 or 18, but there are some exceptions, see below. Many countries also allow you to drive a moped at the age of 16;
Czech Republic - You can drive a moped at 15
Denmark - You can drive a moped at 15
Estonia - You can drive a moped at 14, and can drive a car at 16, with supervision.
Finland - You can drive a moped or a tractor at 15
France - With supervision, you can drive a car at 15.
Iceland - You can drive a car at 16 with supervision.
Latvia - You can drive a moped at 14 and a car at 16. If you are driving a car at 16 though do you need to be supervised by a person who has held a category B licence for at least 3 years.
Slovenia - You can drive a car at 16 with supervision.
Spain - You can drive a moped at 15
Sweden - You can drive a moped or a tractor at 15.
Isle of Man - The minimum driving age is 16.