Less than half of all learner drivers passed the first time when taking their practical driving test in 2015-16. The latest government data shows that just 47.5% of drivers passed tests on the first attempt, with the total number of tests taken in the year at 731,925.
With fewer drivers passing the first time this could be an opportunity to look at the training of driving instructors. As well as this the new data comes perfectly timed just after the end of the government’s public consultation on improving the driving test. The consultation ended in August and gave people a chance to say how they think the test could be enhanced to deliver a more realistic and true to life experience of UK roads. The government wants the driving test to reflect modern driving conditions and asked people to contribute their thoughts on the best way of doing this.
The latest learner driver data, however, shines a light on how many people succeed with the current test. In addition to the first time pass rate, the data also shows the second time pass rates, which show a slight improvement of 48.4%. Some people fared a little worse than first or second attempts. Over 80,000 were actually on their sixth driving test, with only 38.4% passing at this stage.
The data also breaks down to show gender differences, with more men passing both first and second time than women.
The study also found that fewer teenagers are learning to drive than ever. The figures for 2015-16 show that fewer teens are even taking driving tests. The blame lies at the foot of the cost of driving for many. Young men aged between 17 and 20 are the group hit hardest.
Protecting and Supporting Learner Drivers
Learner drivers are a unique group on the road. They have the potential to set the tone for the future of driving. If they are well taught they have the potential to improve safety as well as efficiency on the roads. Approved driving instructors ensure most learner drivers have expert tuition although this isn’t compulsory.
There are many different calls for how the driving test should change. Cyclist activists want dedicated bike awareness on the test. The government has also made the suggestion that at least part of the test use a sat nav. This is due to how common this kind of technology has now become.
When the results of the consultation are revealed, we should be able to have some idea of how the future driving test may look. Perhaps it may lead to more driving passing first time too.