Changes in Driving Habits and Laws Over the Last 50 Years!


This year Bedford Insurance is officially turning 50, which got us thinking: what has changed in the motoring world over the past half a century?

After a bit of research we found all sorts of crazy facts and information, such as that it wasn’t until 1970 that driving instructors had to be officially registered and that there are currently 27 million vehicles on the UK’s roads!

It is also 50 years since the first anti drink-driving campaign was launched and there have been some pretty remarkable stats revealed this year. Even though road deaths linked to drink-driving have fallen from 1640 to 230 over the last 50 years, today only 91% of drivers believe that drink driving is socially unacceptable – this should be 100%!

All of these great facts are displayed in our infographic above, however we have a few here to get you started:

• 18-24 year olds are more likely to drink and drive than 55-64 year olds.

• 46.5% of full driving licence holders are now female.

• Women are less likely to drink and drive than men – 3 times as many men were caught under the influence of alcohol after an accident.

• There are currently 27 million vehicles on the road in the UK.

• Previously 7,000 people a year used to be killed on the roads each year.

• Between 1960 and 1973 there was an increase in drivers on the road, in fact there were 17 million more during those 13 years as a result of vehicles becoming more affordable during the 1960s.

• In 1965 the centralised licensing system was set up.

• During 1967 the Road Safety Act came to fruition and covered licencing and testing of HGV licences.

• Also during 1967 new drink-driving laws were implemented and the legal limit was 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

• During 1968 the driving test fee increased to £1.75.

• The first official driving manual was published in 1969 called “driving – the ministry of transport manual” and cost just 62p.

• In 1970 all driving instructors had to be registered.

• There were also 3,500 people prosecuted in 1970 for driving on a forged drivers licence.

• 1973 was the year that crash helmets were made compulsory.

• It was also the year that the top speed mopeds were allowed to travel at was 30mph.

• In 1975 arm signals no longer needed to be demonstrated during the driving test.

• Full driving licences became valid until the age of 70 in 1976.

• And in 1983 provisional driving licences became valid until the age of 70.

• In 1990 the driving standards agency became compulsory and test examiners also started to give candidates feedback on their tests, e.g. an explanation of their faults and information on areas to improve on.

• 1955 the pass plus scheme was introduced.

• In 1996 the written theory test was introduced and the pass mark was increased from 26/35 to 30/35.

• It wasn’t until 2002 that the hazard perception test was introduced.

How many of these motoring facts did you know? Tell us in the comments section below or on our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages!



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