Divorce driving older women behind wheel
RISING divorce rates may be behind a rise in middle-aged women learning to drive to gain independence, the president of the AA has said.
Government figures reveal that driving tests taken by women over the age of 50 increased by nearly a third (31 per cent) compared with four years earlier, with 17,464 tests taken in 2017-18. The number who passed their test over the same period similarly rose by almost 33 per cent, from 4,033 to 5,350. Motoring experts said the trend, found in Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency figures, could partly be explained by divorce.
More than 101,000 couples divorced in 2017. The divorce rate of women between 55 and 59 was 5.8 per 1,000 couples, up from 5.2 a decade earlier.
Edmund King, the president of the AA, told The Sunday Times: “Some women may not have had a driving licence but, following divorce and perhaps moving out of the family home, they find that they need to drive.”
Jim O’sullivan, the head of Highways England, last month said the fastest-growing demographic among motorists was “women in their 50s learning to drive for the first time”.