Plunge in number of driving tests taken28 Jun 2018

Year-on-year drop of almost 11 percent

The number of people who took a practical driving test in the first quarter of this year was 10.7% lower than in the same period in 2017.

Official figures show that between January and March 2018 there were 465,650 on-the-road tests taken in Britain.

During the same period there were 480,200 car theory tests taken, a year-on-year drop of 5.7%.

The Department for Transport speculates that the decline in people taking the practical test might in part be down to changes to the test which came into effect on 4 December 2017. Among the changes were:

  1. Independent driving element increased from 10 to 20 minutes
  2. Following directions from sat nav
  3. New reversing manoeuvres to be tested such as parallel parking or parking in a bay
  4. Two safety questions to be asked whilst the candidate is driving

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“The new driving test is about improving standards so if these figures are the result of instructors taking a bit of extra time to ensure their pupils are ready for the exam then that is good for both road safety and learners themselves.

“Taking and failing a test leads to more expense, and delays the point at which people can have the mobility they want and need.”

The data also shows that the pass rate for all tests taken between in the year between April 2017 and March 2018 was 48.3%.

Since 4 June this year learner drivers have been allowed on motorways at the discretion of, and accompanied by, their approved instructors.



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.

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