Driving licences


Last updated 28 August 2020 - see all updates

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1. Main facts and figures

  • 74% of people aged 17 and over in England had a full driving licence on average in the 5 years 2014 to 2018
  • White people were consistently the most likely to have a full driving licence out of all ethnic groups, and Black people were least likely to

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the percentage of people aged 17 and over in England who have a full driving licence.

A full driving licence is valid in England, Scotland and Wales and allows people to drive a car, motorcycle, scooter or moped.

The data includes people who were disqualified from driving but still had a full licence.

Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number and were calculated using unrounded figures.

Not included in the data

Percentages based on fewer than 100 people or 300 trips have not been included in the data. This is because the numbers are too small to make any reliable generalisations.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for the following 5 aggregated groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other ethnic groups

This is because the number of people surveyed was too small to make reliable generalisations about specific ethnic groups.

The data for ‘All ethnic groups’ includes people who did not give their ethnicity – this was 0.05% in the 5 years to March 2018.


Read the detailed methodology document (PDF, 254KB, 13 pages) (PDF opens in a new window or tab) for the data.

The data is an average for the 5 calendar years from 2014 to 2018. This is to make sure there are enough people to be able to make reliable generalisations. Differences between ethnic groups have not been tested for statistical significance. The bullet points on this page only include findings about large differences.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about interpreting survey data, including how reliability is affected by the number of people surveyed.

National Travel Survey responses are weighted to take account of different population demographics. They are also weighted to take into account people who did not respond or complete their travel diary in full.

You can read more about how weighting is used to make survey data more representative of the group it is about.

In the data file

See Download the data for weighted and unweighted sample sizes.

3. By ethnicity

Percentage of people aged 17 and over holding a full driving licence, by ethnicity over time
Time All Asian Black Mixed White Other
% % % % % %
2002/06 71 58 51 54 73 54
2003/07 71 57 51 54 73 54
2004/08 72 57 51 53 74 53
2005/09 72 58 51 55 74 51
2006/10 72 58 50 57 74 54
2007/11 73 58 49 53 75 54
2008/12 73 58 50 55 75 55
2009/13 73 60 50 56 75 56
2010/14 73 60 51 56 75 59
2011/15 73 60 52 57 75 58
2012/16 73 61 53 60 75 59
2013/17 74 62 52 59 76 61
2014/18 74 62 52 59 76 61

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Driving licences By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • between 2014 and 2018, an average of 74% of people aged 17 years and over in England had a driving licence
  • 76% of White people had a driving licence (the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups)
  • Black people were the least likely out of all ethnic groups to have a driving licence (52%)
  • between 2002/06 and 2014/18, the percentage of people with a driving licence went up from 71% to 74%
  • although the figures show a larger than average increase in the Mixed and Other ethnic groups, the number of respondents was too small to make reliable generalisations about them

4. Data sources


Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics


Department for Transport

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

The National Travel Survey is designed to:

  • track long-term trends in personal travel
  • inform the development of policy

It is the main source of data on personal travel patterns by residents of England.

The survey collects information on how, why, when and where people travel. It also covers factors affecting people's travel habits (such as whether they have a car and driving licence).

5. Download the data

Driving licences - Spreadsheet (csv) 11 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, numerator, denominator, sample size