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Bad luck or slow learners? The number of people spending thousands on failed driving tests on the rise

Last Updated: 29th Oct 2019
Bad luck or slow learners? The number of people spending thousands on failed driving tests on the rise

29th October 2019

Learning to drive is an expensive activity. Young drivers now spend an average of £6,998 getting on the road, which includes the cost of driving lessons, tests, insurance and that all important first car.

But for those taking multiple attempts at their theory and practical driving tests before passing can be left with huge bills.

In fact, data received by Hippo Leasing shows there are learners in the UK who take over 15 attempts to pass, costing them thousands of pounds.

Comparing pass rates and the number of attempts candidates have taken to pass their theory or practical driving tests across the last three years (2016 – 2018),it’s clear the number of learners taking 15+ attempts for both tests is on the rise.

In 2016 there were three, 2017 seven and last year ten - a 233 percent increase over three years.

In 2018, 1,692,782 practical driving tests were conducted. Of these, 447,442 learners passed on their first attempt, 13,155 took 6-10 attempts, 328 took 11-15 and 10 took more than 15 tests.

The below practical test centres all recorded candidates taking more than 15 attempts last year, are any of them near you?

  • Birmingham (Kingstanding and The Pavillion)
  • London (Chingford, Erith and Hendon)
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Bradford (Thornbury)
  • Cheetham Hill (Manchester)
  • Crawley
  • Norris Green (Liverpool)

The number of candidates taking 15 or more attempts at the theory test is also on the rise, with an increase of 137 percent since 2016:

Broken down by area, London and the South East (60) has the highest number of candidates taking 15+ theory test attempts, followed by the Midlands (41),the North of England (39),Wales and the South West (15) and Scotland (15).

Men have historically performed the worst, but it’s the women who have a greater year-on-year increase (168 percent) when compared to the men (125 percent).

There’s no hiding the fact that driving test pass rates are at a decade low, for which recent driving test changes have been partly blamed.

In December 2017, the DVSA changed the driving test to increase driver safety and the quality of training, after a troubling statistic was revealed, stating that road collisions remain the biggest killer of young people in the UK.

Last year and the first year of the new driving test, the most common reason why candidates failed their practical driving test was for not pulling out of a junction safely (167,100 fails),followed by not checking mirrors while changing direction (139,883 fails) and turning right at a junction unsafely (77,590).

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