At the end of 2017, changes were made to the driving test, with many believing the new test would be more difficult. It seems this theory may have been correct as the national average for pass rates has decreased by 1.3% since 2016, only reaching 45.8%.
Some of the changes included having to navigate for 20 minutes using a sat-nav, removing certain manoeuvres and learners being asked ‘show me’ and ‘tell me’ questions throughout the test, not just at the beginning.
Following these updated driving test rules, leading vehicle finance provider, Moneybarn, analysed car driving test results across the nation, revealing which areas now have the highest and lowest pass rates.
The South West come up trumps with Dorchester (62.4%) and Yeovil (61.9%) in first and second places respectively for the highest pass rates.
Northallerton (61.8%), Ipswich (60.1%) and Durham (60%) complete the top 5 centres with the highest pass rates.
Newtown is the best place to take your driving test in Wales, placing seventh overall and boasting a 58.3% pass rate, followed closely by Barry in ninth place with a 58% pass rate.
On the other hand, Birmingham (The Pavilion) has the highest failure rate for driving tests, with just 28.6% of drivers achieving a pass. This is over 17% lower than the national average.
This may not surprise local residents as Birmingham is found to be one of the most congested cities in the UK.
Speke (32.5%), Birmingham South Yardley (32.8%), Erith (33%) and Belvedere (33.2%) complete the bottom five centres with the lowest pass rates.
Two Manchester-based centres – Rochdale (34.2%) and Bury (34.6%) – feature in the bottom ten as do three London test centres, which are Erith (33%), Belvedere (33.2%) and Barking Tanner Street (34.5%).
Overall, built-up urban areas tend to have lower pass rates, with quieter rural test centres having a higher number of positive results.
This could be because when test centres – like Birmingham (The Pavilion)- are in more congested areas, there’s a higher likelihood of challenging moments when driving. There are more distractions on busier roads, higher concentrations of traffic and complex road intersections to navigate.
It’s also been suggested there may be social factors which affect the pass rate disparity. Bigger, urban test centres are usually in areas where more people are on lower incomes. This may mean they have taken fewer driving lessons before their tests, which could be a contributing factor to the lower pass rates.
Tim Schwarz, Head of Marketing at Moneybarn, commented on the findings:
“Although the pass rate has lowered slightly, making certain elements of the driving test more challenging demonstrates the Government’s commitment to improving road safety.
“The changes are also more representative of what new drivers will encounter in their everyday driving, with a greater focus on a candidate’s ability to drive safely and responsibly, as well as ensuring they have good knowledge about driving theory and the vehicle itself.”
To see where your driving test centre faired, view all the test centres analysed here.
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