The finding has been published as part of the Department for Transport’s National Travel Survey, an annual poll that had some 16,000 respondents.
According to the research, the most significant fall in driving rates has been among men aged from 17 to 20.
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In the mid-1990s, the number of men in this age group who passed their test in their late teens stood at 51%.
But the survey, which was sent to some 7,000 homes in England, showed that this figure has now fallen to around a third.
While there has been a similar decline in the amount of young women on the road, the research revealed that the drop has not been as pronounced.
In the report, half of young people claimed it was concerns over the cost of driving that prevented them getting behind the wheel, with many citing the high price of driving lessons and insurance premiums.
By contrast, over-70s are now far more likely than at any time since the survey was first carried out 50 years ago to choose to get from A to B by car, due mainly to a shift in working patterns.
The survey found that the amount of men and women aged over 70 with a licence has hit 81% and 50% respectively.
This has shot up from the 32% of men and 4% of women in the 1960s that were still on the roads after turning 70.
It comes after a separate study found that elderly drivers do not pose a greater risk to safety on the roads than younger motorists, despite common misconceptions.
According to Swansea University’s Centre for Innovative Ageing, older drivers compensate for slower reaction times by taking more when in control of a vehicle.
Elsewhere, the report found that the number of journeys being taken per person in England has fallen to its lowest level since records began.
Each person took an average of just 914 trips in 2015, down from a high of 1,094 in 1995/97.
Most of the fall in trips since the mid-2000s has been due to fewer car journeys, despite the proportion of households with access to a car remaining broadly unchanged.