Monday 27th May 2019
Number of learner drivers passing car theory test plummets to lowest level in more than a decade

Less than half of learner drivers are passing their theory tests, the lowest rate in the past decade according to new statistics.

Terri-Ann Williams, The Daily Mail, reports:

The number of learner drivers passing car theory tests has plummeted to its lowest level in more than a decade.

It comes as the test was made more difficult for learner drivers, with results showing that only 47 per cent of would-be-motorists having managed to pass the test over the past 12 months.

Statistics from the Department of Transport (DfT) showed that women are more likely to pass the test than men.

Over the last decade, there have been a whole host of reforms in order to toughen up the test which was introduced as a separate part of the test in 1997.

The changes include the number of multiple-choice questions and stopping their publication in advance online, in order to stop people memorising them beforehand.

Hazard perception questions were also introduced in order to test reactions to various scenarios.

In September 2007 the number of multiple-choice questions was increased from 35 to 50, this is while in 2009 a 'case study' was introduced, with five questions relating to a specific scenario.

In 2012 questions ceased being published online in order to stop people memorising the answers.

A year after the question bank was then refreshed, meaning few real-life questions remained in publication. Then in 2014, interpreters were also banned.

According to The Times, The AA said that some of the questions boarded on 'obscure' which made it hard for many to pass first time.

Price comparison website Moneysupermarket compiled a study which showed that just four in ten drivers were confident they could pass the theory test if they took it again.

It subjected 2,800 drivers to eight sample questions, with only a tenth of participants selecting the right answers.

This is while only a third of drivers were able to identify the colour of the reflective studs between the motorway and slip road, which are green.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said that some people assume you can pass the theory test with a few lessons and a bit of common sense but you can't.

'Some of the questions are actually quite obscure. The test is obviously very necessary but perhaps part of it could be a bit more mainstream and relevant to the reality of driving.'

As part of the test, learner drivers are asked 50 multiple choice questions and need to answer 43 correctly in order to pass.

For the hazard perception part they need to get 44 out of 75.

Learners must pass the theory test before sitting the practical exam.

The DfT states that about 1.34 million learner drivers have sat the theory test over the past year, with 47.4 per cent passing.

Figures for 2017-2018 show this was down for 48.7 per cent, the lowest proportion since 2007-08.

Across 2007-08 the pass rate stood at 65.4 per cent, in 2013-14 after new theory questions stopped being released online.

Last year the pass rate dropped as low as 45.7 per cent for men, and 49.2 per cent for women.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency's chief driving examiner, Mark Winn said: 'DVSA's priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving. Britain's roads are among the safest in the world but all road users must make sure their skills and knowledge are up to date. The highway code is essential reading for all road users, not just those who are learning.'

The results suggest that the reforms to the theory exam have created a tougher test. This increased difficulty means that learners will have to study more in order to pass, which could help in developing safer drivers.

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