Vehicle Licensing and Registration
(See appendix for regional breakdown below)
- The number of vehicles licensed in the UK and the number of newly registered vehicles is increasing year on year (see appendix for regional figures):
Year Number of
Number of newly
No data available
No data available
No data available
- In 1951 only 14% of British households had a car, with 1% owning two cars. By 1969 this figure had increased to 45% for one car and 6% for two cars. Currently 46% of households own one car, 22% two cars and 5% three or more cars.
- Almost 1/3 of households buy another car as a result of a teenager/young adult passing their driving test.
- 71% of adults in Britain now hold a full driving licence – that’s 32.3 million people.
- Male drivers still outnumber women drivers with 82% of men holding a valid licence compared to 60% of women. This has increased dramatically since 1976 when only 29% of women held a licence compared to 69% of men.
- In 2001/02 DVLA processed 81.7 million vehicle transactions and 16.1 million driver transactions.
- Blue is the most popular colour for motor cars with 6,302,346 currently licensed. This is closely followed by red at 5,693,327.
Drivers and Driving
- Distance travelled by car per year has increased for the average British person by 11% over the period 1989/91 to 1999/01. In 1989/91 the average person would travel 4806 miles in their car per year, today, the average person travels approximately 5,350 miles.
- Average trip lengths in cars have also increased since 1989/91 from 8.2 miles to 8.7 miles in 1999/2001 – an increase of 6%. In contrast the average length of all trips has increased by 13% over this period, from 5.9 miles to 6.7 miles.
- 70% of GB citizens drive to work on a regular basis; the average journey time of 20 to 21 minutes has remained constant for all modes including cars.
- The average number of journeys made by people in their cars has increased over the period 1989/91 to 1999/01 from 619 trips to 639 trips per person per year.
- Car travel accounts for 4/5 of the total distance travelled by the UK population.
- The number of driving tests conducted in the UK has decreased in the past 10 years from 1.8 million to 1.2 million. The pass rate for tests has also decreased from 51% in 1991 to 43% in 2002.
- In Britain, we spend approximately nine days per year travelling by car.
- 60% of car trips are taken by one person alone (as measured by single occupancy rate), and 36% are shared by two people.
- 27% of household cars are 3 years old or less. 27% are more than 10 years old.
- The average lifespan of a UK car is 14 years.
The Cost of Motoring
- The average household spends £55.10 per week on their motor vehicle including insurance, taxation, petrol and servicing. That’s £2,865 per year per household – an increase of 61% over 10 years.
- In 2000, 4,230,000 motor insurance claims were made at a cost of £7,078 million. An average of 17% of the motoring population make an insurance claim every year, an average payment of £1,673. This is an increase of 5.9% in cost terms over the past 10 years, however frequency of claims has reduced by 2.9%.
- In 1971 the best-selling family car was an Austin Morris 1300 at a price of £931, the 2001 equivalent was the Ford Focus costing £12,710.
- The Motor Car Act 1903 introduced measures to help identify vehicles and their drivers. County Councils and County Borough Councils were made Registration and Licensing Authorities; the vehicle registration fee was twenty shillings and the drivers licence fee was five. The speed limit was raised to 20mph.
- The Roads Act 1920 required Councils to register all vehicles at the time of licensing and to allocate a separate number to each vehicle. People were also required to notify the local council when they bought a vehicle. The term ‘owner’ was replaced by ‘keeper’ on a vehicle logbook.
- The Road Traffic Act 1930 abolished the 20mph speed limit and set a variety of limits for different classes of vehicle. There was no speed limit for vehicles carrying less than seven persons.
- Motor Vehicles Regulations 1935 saw the introduction of driving competency tests for all persons who commenced driving on or after 1 April 1934. These were suspended in 1939 for 7 years due to the Second World War and in 1956 for 1 year due to the Suez crisis.
- By the 1960s active driver’s records had reached 14.9 million and 12.9 million vehicles were registered. The Government decided that a new system of data processing was needed in order to keep track of drivers and vehicles. So, in 1965 the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centrewas planned to meet this need with the headquarters in Swansea, supported by 81 Local Vehicle Licensing Offices.
- The first computer produced driving licence was produced in 1973.
- In 1976 DVLC introduced the first ’till 70′ full driving licence.
- The 1982 Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulation Act came into force on 31 January 1983.
- Lead-free petrol was introduced in 1987, and in 1989 the introduction of associated tax advantages signalled its widespread use. In January 2000 leaded petrol became obsolete.
- June 1999 saw the introduction of a reduced rate of VED for cars with an engine size of 1100cc and below. This threshold has subsequently been increased to 1549cc.
- In a bid to help the environment, in 2001 DVLA introduced Graduated Vehicle Excise Duty where VED payable on new cars was based on their CO2 emissions and fuel type.
1. Commission for Integrated Transport Statistics.
All other information taken from information supplied by Department for Transport.
Motor vehicles licensed by taxation class (2001)
|County, region and local authority
( UA = Unitary Authority )
Body type: cars
|Vehicle Under Disposal||359.0|
|North Eastern Region||821.3|
|Redcar And Cleveland UA||48.7|
|Tyne And Wear Metropolitan Area||315.3|
|Yorkshire And Humberside Region||1,817.5|
|East Riding Of Yorkshire UA||135.9|
|Kingston Upon Hull UA||66.2|
|North East Lincolnshire UA||54.4|
|North Lincolnshire UA||64.5|
|South Yorkshire Metropolitan Area||429.8|
|West Yorkshire Metropolitan Area||738.9|
|East Midland Region||1,773.7|
|Leicester City UA||105.0|
|East Of England Region||2,546.1|
|South Eastern Region||3,885.0|
|Bracknell Forest UA||66.1|
|Brighton And Hove UA||81.5|
|Isle Of Wight UA||55.5|
|Milton Keynes UA||133.2|
|West Berkshire UA||90.1|
|Windsor And Maidenhead UA||71.9|
|South Western Region||2,350.0|
|Bath And North East Somerset UA||71.2|
|Cornwall And Isles Of Scilly||219.4|
|North Somerset UA||89.2|
|South Gloucestershire UA||117.3|
|West Midland Region||2,361.5|
|Stoke On Trent UA||78.2|
|Telford And Wrekin UA||63.1|
|West Midlands Metropolitan Area||1,133.6|
|North Western Region||2,635.1|
|Blackburn With Darwen UA||43.8|
|Greater Manchester Metropolian Area||1,028.4|
|Merseyside Metropolitan Area||414.8|
|Aberdeen City UA||78.3|
|Argyll And Bute UA||34.2|
|City Of Dundee UA||41.7|
|City Of Edinburgh UA||169.4|
|City Of Glasgow UA||148.3|
|Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar UA||9.6|
|Dumfries And Galloway UA||58.9|
|East Ayrshire UA||40.3|
|East Dunbartonshire UA||43.8|
|East Lothian UA||34.5|
|East Renfrewshire UA||36.7|
|North Ayrshire UA||44.6|
|North Lanarkshire UA||98.3|
|Orkney Islands UA||7.9|
|Perth And Kinross UA||57.7|
|Shetland Islands UA||8.6|
|South Ayrshire UA||43.0|
|South Lanarkshire UA||103.3|
|The Scottish Borders UA||45.9|
|West Dunbartonshire UA||27.1|
|West Lothian UA||58.7|
|Blaenau Gwent UA||21.2|
|Isle Of Anglesey UA||29.7|
|Merthyr Tydfil UA||16.2|
|Neath Port Talbot UA||46.1|
|Rhondda, Cynon, Taff UA||75.0|
|The Vale Of Glamorgan UA||49.8|