Learner drivers to get cashback for first-time pass13 Nov 2015

Financial incentive to help cut road deaths

The government has said it is exploring ways of giving learner drivers a financial incentive to make sure they are fully prepared when they take their test and pass first time.

At the moment less than half of first-time test takers pass.

As part of a consultation on Motoring Services Strategy ministers are asking whether a cashback option should be introduced to the driving test fee system. The document says:

“We will explore whether a financial incentive to encourage people to take their test when they have a higher chance of passing, rather than having a go in hope of passing, would improve road safety and increase test pass rates.

“This could be done through a reduced test fee, in the form of a deposit when the test is booked, refundable if the candidate passed.

“The proposal would not lead to a revenue increase to the DVSA as retained deposits would be used to fund a reduction in the basic practical test fee.”

There are a total of 1.5 million practical tests taken each year.

The Department for Transport is already carrying out a trial of new-style driving test at 36 

Responding to the announcement Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“We support measures that will encourage learner drivers to get the experience they need to pass their test first time with flying colours, rather than barely scraping through or failing and having to repeat the process a few months down the road at yet more expense.”

Previous research by the RAC Foundation shows that 17-19 year-old drivers make up just 1.5% of the driving population but are involved in 12% of accidents where someone is killed or seriously injured.

According to the Department for Transport a fifth of all those killed and seriously injured on the roads are aged between 17 and 24.

One in five young drivers will have a crash within six months of passing their test.

Young male drivers aged 17 and 18 are 2 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than young women of the same age, and have been found to report more crashes in the 6, 12, 24 and 36 months after passing their test. 



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: www.racfoundation.org