The number of people learning to drive has fallen by almost a fifth since in the past five years, according to new data.

According to data released by the Department of Transport earlier this year the number of people aged between 17 and 19 taking their driving test has fallen by 18 per cent since 2007 because of the financial crisis affecting much of the UK.

The trend has continued into the 20s where the number of people aged between 20 and 29 has fallen by ten per cent in the same period.

The figures are in stark contrast the traditional perception that a young person in the UK will apply for a provisional licence and take their driving test soon after their 17th birthday.

Between July and September 2012 the number of driving tests taken in the UK fell by 5.3 per cent to just 421,374 as the credit crunch hits drivers' pockets.

A major reason for the seemingly lack of interest in gaining the driving qualification has been attributed to the ongoing financial crisis which has left many young people able to pay the rising cost of learning to drive including driving lessons and car insurance.

According to figures released by MoneySupermarket a learner driver will pay £191 on tests alone even if the driver was to pass first time. The figure includes the cost of a provisional licence (£50), the £31 fee for the theory test and the £110 for the driving test including the cost of using an instructors' car for two hours.

Before a driver can even attempt a practical test they will have already shelled out as much as £1,128. The average driving lesson now costs £24 per hour and the Driving Standards Agency recommends new drivers should take 47 hours of lessons before attempting the test.

Drivers should also have 22 hours of private practice with a qualified driver over the age of 21 who has had a licence for a minimum three years.

The high cost of driving does not stop once the driver actually passes a test. According to MoneySupermarket the average learner driver car insurance cost for a 17 to 19 year old driver will be £1,422 on top of the cost of a car itself and the road tax based on its CO2 emissions.

With every cost of driving included the cost to a young driver of learning to drive and getting on the road could be as much as £5,000 - which is a perfect reason for some drivers to decide not to drive when they hit their 17th birthday.

The UK government is currently looking into proposals to introduce stricter measures on younger drivers including extra training and stronger measures for those who break the law within their first year of owning a full driving licence.

The measures are expected to be announced in summer 2013 and could come into effect this year across the UK.