THE pass rate for driving tests in the UK has dropped to the lowest in a decade as learners blame a “dangerous” new parking manoeuvre.

New figures show that pass rate has fallen to 45.8 per cent for the year 2018-19 from a peak of 47.1 per cent in 2016-17.

 Pass rates are at their lowest in a decades

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Pass rates are at their lowest in a decades

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Some claim the decline in successful tests is due to a new parallel parking manoeuvre brought in as part of a series of changes to revamp the exam.

The “reversing your vehicle” test requires the driver to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths, then rejoin the traffic.

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.”

NEW TESTS

The taxing new test was introduced to the exam in December 2017, meanwhile the “turn in the road” and “reverse around a corner” manoeuvres were scrapped.

The practical exam now also features a 20-minute independent driving section, when drivers are required to work a sat nav device.

Plus there are two additional “show me, tell me” questions during the test on top of those before the driving part of the test.

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.

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“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.”

What’s in a driving test today?

  • The test should last around 40 minutes
  • Before going out on the road there’s an eye sight check
  • There’s also one safety questio
  • The learner must drive in various traffic conditions
  • Plus driving independently for about 20 minutes, following directions from a sat nav or road signs
  • There will be another safety question while driving
  • The learner has to perform one reversing manoeuvre, including: bay parking, parallel parking or the new ‘reversing your vehicle test’
  • Controlled stops will be a part of the test, and you could be asked to do an emergency stop

Figures obtained by the Press Association revealed some prolific candidates have taken as many as 21 tests in a year before passing.

The rules state a learner has to wait 10 days after a failed examination before they can try again.

In 2009, 2015 and 2017, a learner driver took 19 tests in one year – and failed them all.

The figures, released under Freedom of Information laws, showed the ten most prolific learner drivers every year from 2009 to 2018 failed a median average of 15 tests each.

In five of the ten years, the most prolific test candidate ended December without having passed their practical exam.

‘LIFETIME OF SAFE DRIVING’

DVSA’s chief driving examiner Mark Winn said: “DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving.

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“Candidates should only attempt their test when they’ve gained a broad range of experience and are ready to drive safely and independently.

“Anyone who fails their driving test has to wait at least 10 working days to take another.

“This ensures the candidate has time to undergo additional training and improve any faults noted by the examiner before they take their test again.

“To prepare people better for driving safely on our roads, we changed the driving test in 2017 so that it reflects real-life driving.”

Separate data from the DVSA showed 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.

Some 18,922 learners passed the practical test with zero faults in 2018/19, up from 18,410 the previous year.


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