50,000 driving tests a year taken by people who have failed five times

More than 50,000 driving tests a year are taken by learners who have already failed at least five times, figures reveal

  • Department for Transport figures show 50,875 practical tests taken in Britain between March 2021 and 2022 were the candidate’s sixth attempt or greater 
  • Just 40 per cent of those tests were passed, compared to 49 per cent average
  • Examiners having to ‘physically intervene’ to avoid danger more frequently
  • Still more than 50 test centres in November which had wait time of 24 weeks 

More than 50,000 driving tests a year are taken by learners who have already failed at least five times, according to new analysis.

Motoring research charity RAC Foundation said the figures suggest ‘driving might not be the thing for some people’.

Its analysis of Department for Transport (DfT) figures found 50,875 practical tests taken in Britain in the 12 months to the end of March were the candidates’ sixth attempt or greater.

Just 40 per cent of the tests were passed, compared with an average success rate for all tests of 49 per cent.

It comes as learners are still having to wait more than 15 weeks for a test, amid an ongoing backlog sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. 

More than 50,000 driving tests a year are taken by learners who have already failed at least five times. (Stock image)

Learners aged 60 and above were behind the wheel for 290 of the tests taken by candidates with a minimum of five previous failures.

Their pass rate was 27 per cent for men and 19 per cent for women.

The DfT recently said the frequency of examiners having to ‘physically intervene to avoid a dangerous incident’ has increased to one in eight tests.

Practical driving tests cost between £62 and £75 depending on when they are taken.

The total bill for repeated failures could run into thousands of pounds when you also take into account the rocketing cost of lessons.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said the number of failed tests may provide ‘reassurance’ to people who suspect it is too easy to get a licence, as ‘for some learners that’s clearly far from the case’.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding (pictured) said the figures suggest ‘driving might not be the thing for some people’

He went on: ‘One loud and clear message this data reveals is that however hard some people find it to pass their test, becoming a qualified driver is so important to them that it is worth the money, time and energy involved in battling on to secure their licence.’

Mr Gooding believes the backlog of people wanting tests means some people could accept slots ‘whether they are ready or not, for fear of a long wait if they delay’.

He added: ‘Of course, one other conclusion to be drawn from the figures is that driving might not be the thing for some people.’

Meanwhile more than 50 test centres across the country still have a waiting time of 24 weeks, while the average is 15, according to DVSA statistics released earlier this month.

The easiest and hardest places in the UK to pass your driving test

Test centres with the ten highest pass rates (April- June 2022)

Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland – 92.3%

Ullapool, Scotland – 88.2%

Montrose, Scotland – 85.5%

Islay Island, Scotland – 84.6%

Mallaig, Scotland – 81.8%

Inveraray, Scotland – 76.7%

Benbecula Island, Scotland – 75.9%

Alnwick, Northumberland – 75.6%

Arbroath, Scotland – 75.4%

Hawick, Scotland – 75.3% 

Test centres with the ten lowest pass rates (April- June 2022)

Speke, Liverpool – 25.4%

Erith, London – 28.1%

Crewe, Cheshire – 32.6%

Kingussie, Scotland – 33.3%

Wanstead, London – 34.3%

Wednesbury, West Midlands – 34.7% 

Belvedere, London –  35.3%

Wolverhampton – 35.5% 

Shieldhall, Glasgow – 36%

Crawley, West Sussex – 37.2% 

Source: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

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