Scotland sees surge in number of car drivers

More Scots are buying and passing their driving test. Picture: TSPL
More Scots are buying and passing their driving test. Picture: TSPL
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SCOTS are driving more for the first time in five years while new vehicle sales have seen their biggest surge in a decade, new Scottish Government figures showed today.

Motoring groups interpreted the latest official figures as a sign of optimism with the economy, with the number of driving licence holders also at a ten year high.

The Scottish Government figures for last year showed traffic increased by 0.4 per cent in 2011 to 43.5 billion vehicle kilometres.

Some 216,000 new vehicles were bought, with the 7 per cent rise the largest for ten years, although it remained below the peak of some 260,000 in 2006.

The total number on vehicles on Scotland’s roads increased by 1 per cent to 2.7 million - its highest ever, or one in six more than a decade ago.

One in four households have at least two cars - the highest ever - although nearly one in three homes still have none.

Kevin Delaney, head of road safety for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “This is good news - a sign of the economy picking up, or at least a reflection of optimism and rising levels of confidence.”

The figures also showed more passengers flew abroad from Scottish airports than took UK flights for the first time - 10.21 million compared to 10.05 million.

A total of 28 per cent of Scots travelled by train at least once a month, nearly twice the proportion of a decade ago, with 83.3m ScotRail passengers the highest recorded.