CHAPTER 1 ROAD TRANSPORT VEHICLES
1.1 This chapter provides information about the numbers of road transport vehicles, such as new registrations, numbers licensed by taxation group and council area, ages, cylinder sizes, methods of propulsion, gross weights of heavy goods vehicles, seating capacity of public transport vehicles, licensing figures for taxi and private hire cars and their drivers and numbers of wheelchair accessible taxis. It also provides statistics of the most popular cars, results of the road vehicle testing scheme ( MOT), driving tests, driving licence holders, households with the regular use of a car, the number of Blue Badges issued and information about motor vehicle offences recorded by the Police.
2. Main Points
2.1 The total number of new motor vehicles registrations in 2009 was around 216,000, similar to 2008 (which was the lowest number since 1998). ( Table 1.1)
2.2 New registrations of cars in 2009 accounted for around 186,000 of these, about 13,000 more than in 2008, but 16,000 less than in 2007. Of all new registered vehicles in 2009, 124,000 (57%) were petrol-propelled, and 91,000 (42%) were diesel-propelled. ( Table 1.1)
2.3 The total number of vehicles licensed was 2.7 million in 2009, 1% more than 2008 and 27% higher than in 1999. The number of private and light goods vehicles in 2009 was 2.4 million, 1% more than 2008 and 27% higher than 1999. ( Table 1.2)
2.4 Glasgow had the largest number of vehicles licensed in 2009 (244,000), followed by Fife (193,000) and Edinburgh (182,000) - based on the postcode of the registered keeper. The effect of the registration of company car fleets can be seen: Glasgow accounted for 31 per cent (54,000) of all the company cars registered in Scotland. ( Table 1.3)
2.5 Aberdeenshire had the highest number of private cars per head of population (0.52) closely followed by Orkney Islands (0.48), Scottish Borders, Angus and Moray (all 0.47) and Highland, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and Perth and Kinross (all 0.46). Glasgow (0.25) had the lowest figure; West Dunbartonshire (0.35), Dundee (0.33) and Edinburgh (0.32) also had low values. (Figure 1.3)
2.6 There were 10,604 taxis and 10,956 private hire cars licensed in Scotland based on figures provided by Scottish licensing authorities during July-August 2010. These show an increase of 0.7% in the number of licensed taxis and a reduction of 3.3% in the number of private hire cars when compared with figures for 2009. Latest figures show that of the 10,604 licensed taxis 4,775 are wheelchair accessible - an increase of 2.6 % over the previous year. ( Table 1.4)
2.7 The average age of private and light goods vehicles in 2009 was 6.0 years, slightly up on recent years. The average age of private and light goods vehicles continues to be lower in Scotland than for Great Britain as a whole. In 2009 the average age of these vehicles in Great Britain was 6.9 years. ( Table 1.6)
2.8 Public transport vehicles with 9 to 15 seats have increased by 107% from 1999 to 2009; and those with 41 to 48 seats have increased by 100%. In contrast, public transport vehicles with 49 to 56 seats have declined by 21%; and those with more than 72 seats have declined by 13% over the same period. ( Table 1.9)
2.9 There were 7,758 licensed operators of heavy goods vehicles in Scotland in 2009-10. Most operators had few (if any) vehicles specified on the licence: 5,630 had 0-2 vehicles, 1,074 had 3-5 vehicles and 540 had 6-10 vehicles. Only 229 operators had 21 or more vehicles each specified on the licence. ( Table 1.10)
2.10 The most popular new car sold in Scotland in 2009 was the Vauxhall Corsa with a market share of 7.2%. The top 20 most popular models had a total market share of 48.2%. ( Table 1.11)
MOTs & Driving Tests
2.11 In 2009/10, about 45% of cars tested in the Road Vehicle Testing Scheme ( MOT) were unsatisfactory, as were 21% of motor cycles. About 22% of cars tested had unsatisfactory lights or signalling, 19% had unsatisfactory brakes and 18% had unsatisfactory suspension (a vehicle with more than one type of fault is counted against each of them). 11% of motorcycles tested had unsatisfactory lights or signalling, 5% had unsatisfactory brakes and 5% had unsatisfactory steering or suspension. ( Table 1.12)
2.12 There were 120,000 driving licence practical tests conducted in 2009, a decrease of 8% on 2008. The pass rate was 1% point lower at 46%. The test centre at Lerwick had the highest pass rate (71%) while the lowest was at Glasgow Shieldhall (36%). (Tables 1.13 & 1.14)
2.13 National Travel Survey results, based on a sample of a few hundred households per year in Scotland, suggest that in 1985/86 about 49% of people aged 17 and over held a full car driving licence, increasing to 69% in 2008/09. Largely due to an increase in the number of female driving licence holders, from 34% of women in 1985/86 to 60% in 2008/09. Over the same period, the percentage of men with a driving licence rose from 68% to 79%. 81% of all people aged 40 to 49 held a driving licence in 2008/09. Because of the small size of the National Travel Survey's Scottish sample, these results could be subject to large sampling errors and variability. ( Table 1.15)
2.14 The Scottish Household Survey, which started in 1999, has a much larger sample, and therefore provides more detailed and more reliable results. The SHS results for 2009 show that, although men are always more likely to hold a full driving licence than women, the difference between the proportions increases with age. For 21-29 year olds there is a difference of 3 percentage points (men: 60%, women: 57%), which increases to 14 percentage points amongst 50-59 year olds (men: 85%, women: 71%) and further again for those aged 70 and over (men: 73%; women: 33%). ( Table 1.16)
2.15 SHS results also show that the percentage holding a full driving licence tends to increase with annual net household income. In 2009, 92% of adults aged 17+ living in households which had an annual net income of over £40,000 held a full driving licence. In contrast, only 47% of adults who lived in households with an annual net income of up to £10,000 held a full driving licence. In 2009, 61% of adults aged 17+ living in large urban areas held a full driving licence compared with 85% of those living in rural areas (the survey's urban/rural classification system is described in Chapter 11). ( Table 1.16)
2.16 The results from the National Travel Survey show that in 2009, an estimated 72% of Scottish households had the regular use of one car or van, and 28% had two or more cars. Because the survey is designed to produce results for GB as a whole, the Scottish sample is not large enough for detailed analysis, and the Scottish results could be subject to large sampling errors. ( Table 1.18)
2.17 The Scottish Household Survey, which started in 1999, shows how the percentage of households with a car available for private use varies between different household types, income bands and type of area (vans are not counted in this analysis). In 2009, family (small or large) and large adult households were most likely to have access to at least one car (small family: 89%, large family: 90%, large adult: 87%). Least likely to have access to a car were single pensioner households (35%). Almost a quarter (23%) of large adult households had 3 or more cars available for private use. Only 40% of households whose net annual income was up to £10,000 had one or more cars available for private use, compared with at least 89% of households whose annual net income were above £25,000. 60% of households in large urban areas had cars, compared with 85-88% those in rural areas. ( Table 1.20)
2.18 There were 274,083 Blue Badges on issue at the end of March 2010. 129,300 were issued to recipients of allowances or grants which provide an automatic entitlement to a Blue Badge, 133,939 were issued on a discretionary basis to other people with a permanent or substantial disability, and 3,866 were issued to institutions. ( Table 1.21)
2.19 The numbers of motor vehicle offences recorded by the police include offences in respect of which either the police or the procurator fiscal made a conditional offer of a fixed penalty (mainly moving vehicle offences). They do not include stationary vehicle offences which are dealt with by the police or traffic wardens by means of fixed penalty notices (mainly parking offences). The total number of motor vehicle offences recorded in 2009/10 was 332,695, a decrease of 0.2% on the 2008/09 total. This is also the lowest number recorded in the past ten years. Between 2000/01 and 2009/10 there had been no noticeable sustained trend in the number of offences recorded: the annual average figure in this period was 369,282, and the numbers fluctuated between about 333,000 and around 435,000. However, numbers rose in 2003/04, and this can be attributed to the rollout of the Scottish Safety Camera Programme, which is delivered through local partnerships involving the police, local authorities and the trunk roads network. The Programme has allowed safety camera enforcement to be targeted at roads with a history of both speeding and accidents causing injury, and so has contributed to a reduction in the number of road accident casualties. ( Table 1.22)
2.20 Between 2008/09 and 2009/10 there were decreases in 20 of the 27 motor vehicle offence categories shown, and a 2% decrease overall; changes in these figures may arise because of changes in the level of enforcement or police deployment. The largest decrease was for driving while disqualified, where there was a 23% decrease from 2,659 to just over 2,000. Speeding offences recorded in 2009/10 represented 34% of all motor vehicle offences recorded that year. ( Table 1.22).
3. Notes and Definitions
3.1 Motor Vehicles: There are two types of classification of motor vehicles:
- Taxation Group: based on the level of tax placed on a motor vehicle according to its vehicle type (e.g. Private & light goods, Public transport, Goods etc);
- Body Type: based on the look of a vehicle (e.g. cars).
3.2 Private and Light Goods Vehicles: the bulk of this group consists of private cars (whether owned by individuals or companies) and vans and light goods vehicles (goods vehicles which do not exceed 3,500 kgs gross weight). The group also contains a number of other types of vehicle including private buses and coaches.
3.3 Motorcycles: no distinction is made between motorcycles, scooters and mopeds for taxation purposes, and therefore motorcycles includes all two wheeled vehicles.
3.4 Public Transport: all vehicles classified for taxation in class 34 - Bus (introduced 1 July 1995). These are vehicles used for public conveyance, with more than 8 seats. Prior to 1 July 1995 public transport vehicles were taxed in class 35 Hackney, used similarly for public transportation but with no lower limit on seating capacity. Buses and coaches not licensed for public conveyance, and operated and used privately, are excluded and are classified for excise licensing with private and light goods. Taxis and private hire cars are now included in the private and light goods group.
3.5 Goods Vehicles: the totals for this group (goods vehicles which exceed 3,500 kgs gross weight) for the earlier years include the now-discontinued formerly separate Farmers Goods, General Goods and some vehicles which before 1 July 1995 were taxed in a specialised taxation class but which now fall into the Goods Vehicle class groups, which were shown separately in some of the previous editions of Scottish Transport Statistics. Goods vehicles that are used un-laden, privately or for driver training purposes are licensed in the Private HGV taxation class.
3.6 Crown and Exempt Vehicles: the 'exempt' vehicles include a number of distinct sub-groups and classes, of which the most important are: 'Emergency vehicles', 'Disabled driver and disabled passenger carrying vehicles', 'All vehicles, except buses and goods vehicles used commercially if they were constructed before 1 January 1973', and 'Personal export and direct export vehicles', and vehicles formerly in the 'Special Concessions' class i.e. agricultural tractors, combine harvesters, and mowing machines, electric vehicles, gritting vehicles and snow ploughs, and steam powered vehicles.
3.7 Special Vehicles: this group consists of vehicles over 3,500 kgs which do not pay Vehicle Excise Duty as heavy goods vehicles nor qualify for taxation in the special concessionary group. Vehicles in this group include road rollers, work trucks, digging machines and mobile cranes.
3.8 Average ages of vehicles: with effect from the estimates for 2008, the Department for Transport [DfT]) improved its method of estimating the age of the vehicle fleet. The estimated ages are slightly higher than previously, although the pattern from year to year is unchanged.
3.9 Goods vehicles licensed by operator size: To operate a goods vehicle (over 3,500 kgs gross weight) in GB (England, Scotland and Wales) in connection with a trade or business or for hire or reward you need to hold a goods vehicle operator's licence. The aims of operator licensing are basically road safety and fair competition. All operators undertake to keep their vehicles in a fit and serviceable condition and to ensure their drivers meet the statutory requirements regarding drivers' hours and records legislation. Operator licensing is the responsibility of the Traffic Commissioners. Each is responsible for a Traffic Area, of which there are 8 in GB. Where an operator has an operating centre(s) (i.e. the place(s) where vehicles are normally kept) in a Traffic Area, a licence must be held in that Traffic Area. Some of the larger operators will have more than one licence. Some operators have licences with no vehicles specified, relying solely on short term hire instead.
3.10 Driving tests: The theory test was introduced on 1 July 1996, therefore 1997 is the first full year for which figures are available. A person who has passed the theory test must sit the practical test within two years. If the person fails the practical during this period then he/she can re-sit the practical without having to take the theory test again.
3.11 Households with the regular use of a car: In the analysis of the results of the National Travel Survey, the term car is used for all three or four wheeled vehicles with a car body type, and also light vans, land rovers, dormobiles and motorcaravans. Such vehicles are regarded as household cars if they are either owned by a member of the household, or available for the private use of household members. Vehicles used only for the carriage of goods, as public service passenger vehicles, or solely for hire by other people are excluded. Company cars provided by an employer for the use of a particular employee (or director) are included, but cars borrowed temporarily from a company pool are not.
3.12 Households with cars available for private use: In the analysis of the results of the Scottish Household Survey ( SHS), the term car is used only for cars: vans are not included in the analysis. The interviewer asks whether any cars are normally available for private use by members of the household. Cars normally kept or owned by someone outside the household are excluded, but company cars available for private use are included.
3.13 Household types: the following categories are used in the analysis of the SHS results:
- A single pensioner household consists of just one adult of pensionable age (60+ for women, and 65+ for men) and no children
- A single parent household contains an adult of any age and one or more children.
- A single adult household consists of an adult of non-pensionable age and no children.
- An older smaller household contains either (a) an adult of non-pensionable age and an adult of pensionable age and no children or (b) two adults of pensionable age and no children.
- A large adult household has three or more adults and no children.
- A small adult household contains two adults of non-pensionable age and no children.
- A large family household consists of either (a) two adults and three or more children or (b) three or more adults and one or more children.
- Small family households consist of two adults and one or two children.
3.14 Annual net household income and SHS urban / rural classification: notes on these classifications appear in Chapter 12.
3.15 Motor Vehicle Offences: those offences classified as motor vehicle offences in the Scottish Government Justice Department's classification of crimes and offences. Certain crimes related to motor vehicles, namely causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs and reckless driving at common law, are excluded primarily because information on these crimes is not collected on the same basis as other motor vehicle offences. In 2009/10, the police recorded 22 crimes of causing death by dangerous driving, and 3 crimes of reckless driving at common law. No crimes of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs were recorded in 2009/10. In 2008/09, there were 22 convictions where the main offence was causing death by dangerous driving, and 3 convictions for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs. All of these resulted in a custodial sentence. There were no convictions in 2008/09 with reckless driving at common law as the main offence. However, the statistics dealing with recorded crime and court proceedings are not directly comparable as a person may be proceeded against for more than one crime involving more than one victim and there is the possibility that the crime recorded by the police may be altered in the course of judicial proceedings. Also a crime may be recorded by the police in one year and court proceedings concluded in a subsequent year.
4.1 Numbers of vehicles
4.1.1 The source of this information is the Vehicle Information Database ( VID) held by the Department for Transport (DfT). The results conform to the same definitions as earlier vehicle censuses, but, for technical reasons, are considered slightly more reliable than earlier estimates. Some vehicles have complicated licensing histories, that may include incidents such as cheques failing to clear, changes of taxation status, late payments, and one or more valid or invalid refund claims. The VID undertakes a more detailed examination of licensing history than earlier vehicle census analyses and is therefore able to provide better estimates of licensed stock. The figures include all vehicles which pay tax and certain vehicles which are exempt. The exempt vehicles are described in section 3.6. The figures exclude vehicles registered by the armed forces, or as personal or direct export and trade licences issued to manufacturers, repairers of and dealers in motor vehicles.
4.2 Number of Vehicles: Taxation class changes in the period covered by the tables
4.2.1 In 1995 there were major reforms of the vehicle taxation system. The bulk of the changes came into operation on 1 July 1995, but some additional changes were introduced on 29 November 1995. The intention was to remove many of the complications in the existing taxation structure, using a strategy to link Vehicle Excise Duty ( VED) rates for many directly to the rate for the private and light goods group ( PLG), or the basic minimum rate for heavy goods vehicles ( HGVs). One measure to help achieve this was the creation of three umbrella taxation groups:
- An emergency vehicles group - exempt from VED
- A special concessionary group, including agricultural machines, snow ploughs, gritting vehicles, electric vehicles and, later, steam powered vehicles, paying VED at one quarter of the annual PLG rate
- A special vehicles group, limited to vehicles over 3500 kgs, including mobile cranes, works trucks, digging machines, showmen's vehicles, etc, paying VED at a rate equivalent to the basic minimum rate for HGVs
From 1 April 2001, vehicles licensed in the special concessionary group were exempted from the payment of VED.
4.2.2 In addition, the goods vehicle taxation system was itself considerably simplified by the abolition of separate goods vehicle classes for farmers and showmen. All remaining goods vehicle taxation classes were also abolished and vehicles in those groups transferred to an appropriate tax class. At the same time, the basis for calculation of excise duty for goods vehicles was amended to revenue weight. Revenue weight means either confirmed maximum gross weight as determined by plating and testing regulations, or design weight for vehicles not subject to plating and testing (formerly known as Restricted HGVs).
4.2.3 The process also included further simplifications and tidying arrangements. These included cases in which vehicles not over 3,500 kgs gross weight were removed into the private and light goods taxation class rather than remaining in specialised taxation classes and groups, and the re-allocation of some tax classes into more appropriate groups. One key change of a similar type was to abolish the separate taxation of public transport vehicles with eight seats or fewer, and tax all such vehicles in the PLG class. From start of July 1995 bigger public transport vehicles were taxed in a new bus taxation class. The changes were completed by the introduction in the November 1995 budget of a new exempt class for vehicles over 25 years of age previously in the private and light goods or motorcycle groups. In 1998 the exemption for vehicles over 25 years of age was replaced with one applying to all vehicles, except buses and goods vehicles used commercially if they were constructed before 1 January 1973.
4.2.4 In general, the process of implementing these changes was gradual, and vehicles were allowed to remain in their current class until a new tax disk was required, whereupon they were transferred into other groups and classes as appropriate. Since tax disks may run for up to a year, some vehicles remained legitimately taxed in abolished groups at the end of 1995. That process was effectively complete by the end of 1996, but users of taxation and stock statistics for 1995 and later years should take special care to ensure they are aware of the changes and the methods by which vehicles were re-allocated to other groups.
4.2.5 Heavy Goods Vehicles: there is a large increase in the over 38 tonnes category, and a large decrease in the 32.1 to 38 tonnes category, between 1998 and 1999, and continuing in later years. This is due primarily to legislation which came into effect in 2001 allowing 6-axled lorries to run at up to 44 tonnes. This has led to many lorries 'up-plating' i.e. the lorries do not necessarily physically change, but are simply taxed differently so that they may carry greater loads.
4.2.6 A further reform to the tax class structure for vehicles weighing up to 3,500kg was announced in 1998. In 1999 a two banded system based on engine size was introduced for the PLG class. In March 2001 four new tax classes were introduced. The Petrol Car, Diesel Car and Alternative Fuel Car taxation classes were introduced for passenger vehicles weighing up to 3,500kg registered on or after 1 March 2001. The Light Goods Vehicles tax class was introduced for goods vehicles weighing up to 3,500kg registered on or after 1 March 2001.
4.3 Numbers of vehicles: Analysis by local government areas
4.3.1 Until 1995 the DVLA used the postcode of the registered keeper (of the vehicle) to allocate vehicles to local government regions. With the 1996 re-organisation of local authorities in Scotland, local government area analyses required major revisions. This was achieved by use of the most recently available postcode directory, which, when used in conjunction with the Vehicle Information Database, allowed vehicle stocks to be estimated for the new local authorities.
4.4 Numbers of new registrations of vehicles
4.4.1 The numbers of new registrations of vehicles of various taxation class types have been obtained by DfT from DVLA. In recent years, changes to taxation classes and local government reorganisation have affected the DVLA computer system used to produce these figures, and it can longer provide the numbers of new registrations for each taxation class for Scotland. Scottish figures appearing here are estimated by DfT, using post town area data, and are subject to a small margin of error.
4.5 Taxis licensed
4.5.1 These figures are based on a survey conducted by COSLA on behalf of the Scottish Government and represent the taxi fleet size/driver numbers at the time of replying to the survey.
4.6 Goods vehicles operators by licence type and number of vehicles specified on the licence
4.6.1 These figures were produced from information taken from the Traffic Commissioners administrative records.
4.7 Most popular car sold
4.7.1 These figures are supplied by Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders ( SMMT). They are based on postcode location derived from form V55 which is completed by the car dealer. The figures do not include sales from non SMMT dealers, such as overseas dealers.
4.8 MOT tests
4.8.1 These figures are supplied by VOSA (Vehicle Operator Services Agency) and are based on test results data entered electronically at each privately operated Vehicle Testing Station in Scotland.
4.9 Driving test receipts
4.9.1 Figures for both driving licence theory and practical tests are obtained from the Driving Standards Agency ( DSA).
4.10 National Travel Survey
4.10.1 Information about the National Travel Survey is given in chapter 12.
4.11 Scottish Household Survey
4.11.1 Information about the Scottish Household Survey is given in chapter 12.
4.12 Numbers of Blue Badges
4.12.1 The Scottish Government requested details from Local Authorities of the number of badges awarded under the EU Blue Badge scheme, which was introduced on 1 April 2000, and replaced the Orange Badge scheme.
4.13 Motor Vehicle Offences
4.13.1 The statistical return from which the figures on recorded motor vehicle offences in this publication are taken is a simple count of the numbers of crimes and offences recorded by the police. The 8 Scottish forces are included; other police forces, such as the British Transport Police, are not. One return is made for each council area in Scotland and these are aggregated to give the national total. The return is submitted quarterly and gives the information as known at the end of each quarter. Thus amendments (such as the deletion of incidents found on investigation not to be criminal) which arise at the end of the year are not incorporated.
4.13.2 Most motor vehicle offences are discovered and recorded as a result of police activity rather than by being reported to the police by the public. Hence the numbers of such offences recorded are mainly determined by the strength and deployment of the police forces.
4.13.3 Separate statistical returns to The Scottish Government are made by the police forces on stationary offences dealt with by a fixed penalty notice by police or traffic wardens. The relevant local authorities also submit annual returns for civil penalty charge notices issued for parking infringements.
5. Further Information
5.1 Further information on motor vehicle licensing statistics can be found in the DfT publications Transport Statistics Great Britain, & Vehicle Licensing Statistics.
5.2 Further information on motor vehicle offences recorded by the Police is available in the Scottish Government's 'Criminal Proceedings in Scottish Courts'.
5.3 Enquiries regarding the statistics should be directed as follows:
Taxi and Private hire cars licensed by Local Authority area ( Table 1.4)
Dave Williamson, Transport Scotland Tel: 0131 244 0866
Goods vehicle operators by licence type & number of vehicles specified on the licence ( Table 1.10)
David Dumbleton, Department for Transport, Tel: 020 7944 2135
Cars sold in Scotland by make and mode ( Table 1.11)
Paul Kingston, Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, Tel:0207 235 7000
Road vehicle testing scheme ( MOT) ( Table 1.12)
Michael Skone, VOSA, Tel: 01792 454 217
Driving licence tests and DVLA receipts ( Tables 1.13 & 1.14)
Applications, tests concluded & passes: (theory) Sanjot Sahota (Tel 0115 936 6177) or (practical) Malcolm Sims (Tel 0115 936 6465), DSA
Receipts from vehicle licences -Christopher Dean, DVLA, Tel: 01792 783 004
Receipts from driving licences - Ms Lynne Harris, DVLA, Tel: 01792 788 088
SHS figures for Driving licence holders and Households with a car available for private use. (Tables 1.16, 1.17, 1.19 & 1.20)
Andrew Knight, Transport Statistics, Transport Scotland, Tel: 0131 244 7256
Blue Badge Statistics ( Table 1.21)
Judith Ballantine, Transport Scotland (Tel: 0131 244 0869)
Motor vehicle offences ( Table 1.22)
Adele Walls, Scottish Government Justice Statistics Unit (Tel: 0131 244 2228).
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