Learner drivers urged to be test-ready as pass rate falls

The latest data released today (11 August 2022) by the Department for Transport reveals the car driving test pass rate for January to March 2022 was 47.1%. This is down from 48.1% in the previous quarter.

47.1% pass rate for car driving tests between January and March 2022

To provide support for learner drivers, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has recently launched the ‘Ready to Pass?’ campaign at www.gov.uk/ready-to-pass. It aims to improve pass rates, which will help to reduce the waiting times for tests.

The campaign gives learner drivers advice on:

  • finding an approved driving instructor
  • monitoring and checking progress of their driving lessons and private practice
  • when to take a mock test
  • how to manage test-day nerves – 1 in 10 learners who fail their driving test say the main reason they failed was because they were too nervous

The website also includes a checklist of the things learner drivers should consider when they and their driving instructor agree they’re ready to take the test.

DVSA is asking learner drivers to move their test back if they are not ready, so their appointment can be used by someone else who is ready. They can do this free of charge up to 3 full working days before their test.

Driving examiners had to take physical action in 1 in 5 failed tests

Between April 2021 and March 2022, car driving tests were failed 786,400 times.

DVSA research shows that driving examiners had to physically intervene in 168,583 tests during that time to avoid a dangerous incident. This means driving examiners had to do things such as brake or steer the car in 1 in 5 failed tests.

Increasing the number of driving tests

DVSA has already taken unprecedented action to increase test availability. The latest statistics show that 425,887 car driving tests were carried out between 1 January and 31 March 2022 (up 14% compared to the same period in 2020).

425,887 car driving tests carried out between January and March 2022

Measures to create extra test appointments

Since April 2021, DVSA has created about 428,000 more test appointments than are normally available by:

  • recruiting new driving examiners – this has created an estimated 140,000 extra appointments
  • carrying out overtime, including at weekends and on public holidays – this has created an estimated 135,000 extra appointments
  • getting all colleagues who are qualified to carry out driving tests but have moved to other roles to carry out tests – this has created an estimated 75,000 extra appointments
  • increasing utilisation – this has created an estimated 60,000 extra appointments
  • buying back leave from driving examiners – this has created an estimated 13,000 extra appointments
  • inviting recently retired driving examiners to return to work – this has created an estimated 5,000 extra appointments

There may be an element of double-counting in some of the figures, as it’s not possible to separate each of the measures fully.

Make sure you’re ready – and delay your test if you’re not

Loveday Ryder, DVSA Chief Executive, said:

We took swift action to tackle the impact of the pandemic and ensure as many people as possible could take their driving test. I’m glad to see the action we took – along with the hard work of driving instructors and our driving examiners – is working, and more test slots are available for learner drivers.

However, with less than half of learners passing, I’d urge them to use our Ready to Pass? checklist to make sure they’re ready – and delay their test if they’re not. This will help make more tests available and prevent people having to pay to re-test.

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