Fleets must plan for rising number of automatic-only licence holders, says IAM RoadSmart
A potential rise in the number of automatic-only licence holders will bring considerations for both fleet planning and purchasing, according to IAM RoadSmart.
Its survey of 1,000 people aged 17-24 found 61% say they plan to apply for an automatic-only driving licence, due to the ban of new petrol and diesel vehicle sales from 2030, and the absence of manual gearboxes in electric vehicles.
IAM RoadSmart said the research shows that young people are being proactive, not reactive to climate issues, and that the traditional split between manual and automatic driving licences is becoming less and less relevant to modern motoring.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the road safety charity, commented: “It’s time that this artificial distinction was ditched as part of an overall review of learning to drive that prioritises experience in all traffic conditions over the type of gearbox you have.”
But he also warned that such a ‘green agenda’ among young people would bring implications for drivers and fleets.
“Fleet managers will inevitably have mixed fleets of internal combustion engine and electric cars for some time to come. If they want to maximise their flexibility they need to factor in now the implications of more automatic-only licence holders on their operating and buying decisions. Hopefully the Government will relax the rules sooner rather than later so that we don’t get any shortages of drivers able to switch between vehicle types. In any case, ensuring their drivers are fully trained for the vehicle they are given should remain a top priority.”
Greig added: “Young people need to be aware that manual driving licences will always open up a wider range of job opportunities for them, particularly as the country recovers from the pandemic.”