Scotland sees surge in number of car drivers

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.

More Scots are buying and passing their driving test. Picture: TSPL
More Scots are buying and passing their driving test. Picture: TSPL

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.

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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.