Timeout

Driving test pass rate at decade low


Driving test pass rates are at their lowest level in a decade, as instructors blame a new “dangerous” parallel parking manoeuvre.

Figures show the car driving test pass rate was 45.8 per cent in the year 2018/19, the lowest figure since 45.3 per cent in 2008/9.

The low success rate has been blamed partly on a new requirement for drivers to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic, which was introduced to the new driving tests in December 2017.

Rob Harper, chair of the Association of Approved Driving Instructors told The Telegraph: “I think it’s a dangerous manoeuvre and so do many of my members.

“We have had lots of complaints from instructors, learner drivers and from members of the public, who aren’t used to seeing people doing it.

“The day after the new test came in, one of our instructors was in a car that was pulling up on the right hand side and was hit by an old lady in a Honda Jazz. She got two wheels up in the air along the side of the car and it was a terrible crash.

“It’s dangerous because other motorists don’t know what’s going on.”

But a spokesperson from the DVSA said that young drivers simply need to “be better prepared” for the tests, which were changed to be more reflective of modern driving.

The ‘turn in the road’ has been scrapped, as has reversing round a corner. Instead, pulling up on the right has been added.

There is also a new 20-minute independent driving section, with drivers being asked to work a sat nav device, and two ‘show me, tell me’ questions during the test. Examples include operating the windscreen washer.

Other figures, obtained by the Press Association, show that some prolific candidates have taken as many as 21 tests before passing, raising questions of their suitability for the road.

Rules mean a learner has to wait 10 working days between failing and taking their next test, and in 2009, 2015 and 2017, a learner driver took 19 tests in one year - and failed them all.

In 2016, one driver passed on their 21st attempt that year, while a learner in 2018 had 19 failed times before being given a full licence.

The 10 most prolific learner drivers every year from 2009 to 2018 failed a median average of 15 tests each.

A spokesperson for the DVSA told The Telegraph: “Examinations are not getting stricter. Drivers simply need to be better prepared.

“Lots of young people are killed on the roads each year and we want that number to go down. We have a test so that drivers can reach a certain standard where they can drive independently and safely.

“If someone has taken 20 tests and failed, they are not safe to drive and will not be allowed to.If they pass on their 21st attempt, then they have met the standard required and will be allowed to.”