Driving test pass rates are HIGHER than pre-pandemic - here are the places you don't want to take your test...

Average pass rate is 48.2%, maintaining the pandemic threshold of 48% Pass rates have been slowly declining since 2020/21 high of 49.8% We reveal the best and worst centres to take your test based on pass rates 

Learners are more likely to pass their driving test today than before the Covid pandemic, despite the huge delays facing learners to secure a test slot, new research shows.

LeaseLoco analysed the latest data published by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and found that between April 2023 and December 2023 the average pass rate was 48.2 per cent.

This compares to just 45.8 per cent in 2018 to 2019 - the most recent full-year data available before the pandemic.

But there are still some driving test centres learners will want to avoid due to their lower-than-average pass rates in the last 12 months...

LeaseLoco analysed the latest driving test data published the DVSA and found that between April 2023 and December 2023 the average pass rate was 48.2 per cent. This continues the plus-48 per cent pass rate threshold since the pandemic struck in 2020

LeaseLoco analysed the latest driving test data published the DVSA and found that between April 2023 and December 2023 the average pass rate was 48.2 per cent. This continues the plus-48 per cent pass rate threshold since the pandemic struck in 2020

In November 2021, the DVSA released an official statement calling for learners to be better prepared to sit driving tests to help clear the enormous backlog of requested bookings built up during national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

However, pass rates had never been higher than during the pandemic.

Pass rates peaked at 49.8 per cent (for the 2020 to 2021 financial year) - though only 436,044 tests were conducted due to the forced closures, down around 75 per cent on the year previous when 1.6 million people sat their practical test.

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Since then, pass rates have remained above 48 per cent, with learners now statistically more likely to get their hands on a licence at the first time of asking.

Although it’s good news that average pass rates across the UK have remained above pre-pandemic levels, LeaseLoco has discovered that rates have actually fallen for the third financial year running.

During the 2021/2022 financial year, test passes dropped to 48.9 per cent. They then fell further to 48.4 per cent in the 2022/23 financial year.

DRIVING TEST AVERAGE PASS RATES PRE AND POST-PANDEMIC 
Year Male driving test pass rate Female driving test pass rate Total pass rate
2014-2015 50.5% 43.6% 46.9%
2015-2016 50.6% 43.8% 47%
2016-2017 50.6% 43.9% 47.1%
2017-2018 50% 43% 46.3%
2018-2019 49.6% 42.4% 45.8%
2019-2020 49.6% 42.6% 45.9%
2020-2021 52.5% 47.1% 49.8%
2021-2022 51% 46.7% 48.9%
2022-2023 50.2% 46.4% 48.4%
2023-2024 (ytd) 49.4% 46.8% 48.2%
Source: LeaseLoco analysis of DVSA data 

This is Money recently revealed that the average learner is still having to wait in excess of six weeks to take their test

This is Money recently revealed that the average learner is still having to wait in excess of six weeks to take their test

Last year, the DVSA demanded that the period in which learners had to wait to rebook after a failed driving test should be extended.

Read More

Learner drivers face typical six week wait to take their test - how long is the delay at your local centre?

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Currently a learner is allowed to book another test 10 working days after their last attempt. But, the DVSA called for that period to be extended to 28 days in order to make learners 'think twice' about sitting tests when they're knowingly not ready to do so in order to improve pass rates.

This stance in 2023 came despite average failure rates in 2022 being lower than they were in 2019.

The DVSA was also hoping the move would help clear the waitlist for practical tests that built up due to Covid lockdowns and restrictions.

This is Money recently revealed that the average learner is still having to wait in excess of six weeks to take their test, thanks to a combination of the post-pandemic backlog and invigilator strikes.

With rates falling, where are the best and worst places to take a driving test in the UK?

Learner drivers could be taking their tests in areas of the country where statistically it's very difficult to pass.

A recent study by Howden Insurance has found the hardest, and easiest, places to sit your practical driving test in the UK based on average success rates dating back four years.

The motor insurer analysed the pass rate percentage of all driving test centres in the UK that've conducted at least 1,000 tests from January 2020 to December 2023.

During that period, almost 4.5 million (4,490,298) practical tests were completed.

A pattern emerged with the 'easiest' places to take your test – all of the top nine test centres are located in Scotland.

Montrose, Angus – which lies in between Dundee and Aberdeen on the East coast of Scotland – is the easiest place to pass with an average pass rate of almost 75 per cent (74.8).

Of the 1,249 tests taking between the beginning of 2020 and end of 2023, 934 were passed – almost three quarters of learners passed.

Peebles in the Scottish Borders has a pass rate of 74.2 per cent, with 394 prospective drivers assessed as ready to drive out of 531 who took a test.

Hawick is the third easiest test centre for someone to pass their driving test in the UK, with a pass rate of 73.3 per cent.

Forfar took fourth place with 72.6 per cent and Lerwick was fifth with 70.1 per cent - all top five pass rate of over 70 per cent.

When it comes to the worst places to take your test, Howden put Swindon in first place with a 21.5 per cent pass rate. But, this applies only to the LGV test centre and not the main site in the town.

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Like many large goods vehicle test centres, Swindon LGV has been used as an overflow centre to attempt to clear the enormous backlog of tests.

Of the 209 tests attempted there, just 45 were successful.

In comparison, some 22,939 tests were taken at the main Swindon centre, of which 10,899 were passes (47.5 per cent).

Looking at only conventional driving test centres, Speke in Merseyside has the lowest pass rate of just 32 per cent, making it the worst place for learners to take their test.

This is based on 23,180 tests attempted in Speke dating back to 2020, of which 7,410 learners passed.

Route-Led – the driving test route provider – puts most recent 2022/23 pass rate for the normal Swindon test centre around 47.5 per cent, with the LGV pass rate for LGV drivers around 70 per cent.

It found that the pass rate for car drivers at the Swindon LGV overflow test centre for 2022/23 was around 17.5 per cent.

Swindon is famous for its Magic Roundabout. The ring junction - which is close to the town centre near the football stadium - consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a giant circle

Swindon is famous for its Magic Roundabout. The ring junction - which is close to the town centre near the football stadium - consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a giant circle

Route-Led also told us that its test route database for Swindon shows that three test routes don’t use the Magic Roundabout and one does - so while Swindon's infamous Magic Roundabout is a driver's nightmare, it's not the reason why so many learners fail in Swindon.

David Hesketh, co-founder of Route-Led, said: ‘It would be interesting to find out if the examiners doing the Swindon LGV car overflow tests are the same as the examiners at the normal Swindon car test centre or if they are the Swindon LGV examiners who normally do the LGV tests.

'Either way, it is clear that there is a huge difference in the likelihood of you passing your test depending on whether you go to Swindon or Swindon LGV for your test which seems incredibly unfair.'

At Speke tests centre in Merseyside , just 32 per cent of learners passed their driving test according to research by Howden Insurance

At Speke tests centre in Merseyside , just 32 per cent of learners passed their driving test according to research by Howden Insurance

The third worst test centre is Doncaster, South Yorkshire, where 32.5 per cent of learners passed.

Two test centres in London also made it into the five hardest places to pass – Erith and Belvedere.

Erith in the Borough of Bexley has a 32.8 per cent pass rate out of 12,332 tests taken, while Belvedere has a pass rate of 33.5 per cent out of 9,481 tests taken.

The top 10 are rounded out with Wolverhampton in sixth (35.5 per cent), Featherstone in seventh (37.4 per cent), Rochdale in eight (37.5 per cent). Wednesbury in ninth (37.7 per cent) and last but not least, Bury in tenth with 38 per cent.

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