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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
Learners 'take to the road later'
Cars on motorway
Young people are said to be waiting longer to get on the road
The practice of learning to drive at 17 and buying an "old banger" seems to be a thing of the past, a survey found.

The theory section of the test and wider university attendance is cited as reasons for why more people are waiting until their early 20s before driving.

But once they pass their tests, new drivers are said to be far more likely to splash out on a new car than their counterparts from the 1970s.

Insurance company More Than surveyed 827 motorists online in August.

Image conscious

The company found 8% of young drivers were likely to buy a new car as their first vehicle compared with only 1% who did so 30 years ago.

First-time car buyers seem to be more image-conscious
David Pitt, More Than

Once they have passed their test, 37% of drivers under 25 said they had bought a new, or nearly new, car, compared with just 19% in the past.

"We've seen that first time drivers are getting older, and that they are more likely to buy newer cars," said David Pitt, head of insurance at More Than.

"Cars are not only more affordable these days, but first-time car buyers seem to be more image-conscious and want the latest makes and models compared to a decade or so ago, when first time cars were often 'old bangers'."

The survey also found young drivers now were more likely to get a helping hand from their family. Almost 90% of drivers 30 years ago paid for their first car themselves compared with 64% today.

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