My Garage
New hero

DVSA release staggering driving test figures

By Maxine Ashford | March 30, 2023


Why not leave a comment?

See all | Add a comment

With February’s figures showing that more than half of learner drivers failed their driving test, new measures are being introduced.

DVSA release staggering driving test figures

With February’s figures showing that more than half of learner drivers failed their driving test and, more concerning, examiners had to intervene for safety reasons in one out of eight tests, new measures are being introduced.

For starters changes to the booking system have just been announced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in a bid to ensure and encourage learners to be better prepared before attempting the test.

So, from this summer, the new rules will include extending the time period for anyone who fails a test before they will be allowed to book another one from 10 to 28 days. According to the DVSA, this will give the would-be driver time to practice properly between tests.

The move has been met with mixed reaction in the industry with 37.1 per cent of approved driving instructors who responded agreeing to the extension, while most industry and road safety organisations were supportive.

And the news has also been greeted with mixed feelings by learner drivers. One in three said it would encourage them to only book their test when they were ready even if waiting times remained at the current levels which is just over 16 weeks. 

Meanwhile 42.8 per cent of learner drivers said the measure would encourage them to only book the test when ready, even if waiting times were reduced. But 42.2 per cent said it would not change their behaviour.

In addition, the time scale for cancelling a test before a fee is charged is being increased from three to 10 days before the test date. The idea behind this change is that it will encourage learners who need more practice to give the DVSA more notice when cancelling. This in turn, would reduce waiting times by freeing up more appointments for better-prepared learners to take their test and, in the long-term also improve pass rates.

When asked about their views on the proposal to extend the notice period for cancelled tests, 46.8 per cent of driving instructors agreed with the idea, although 46.0 per cent disagreed.

It’s worth highlighting that learners will get a refund if they have an illness (including COVID-19) or injury that means they cannot take their test. This also applies if they suffer a bereavement, are taking an exam at a school or college, or have their driving licence stolen. They will still need to provide the necessary evidence in line with the current policy.

Once the date of these new policies has been confirmed, the DVSA will be contacting learner drivers and driving instructors who are affected by the new measures.

These changes follow the launch of DVSA’s ‘Ready to Pass’ campaign which is helping learners properly prepare for their driving test by carrying out simple checks to make sure they are ready.

Loveday Ryder, DVSA CEO, explained: “With more than half of people failing their driving test , it is clear more needs to be done to make sure learner drivers only take their test when they are fully prepared.

“These new measures will help make sure test-ready learners find appointments and give those who fail more time for more practice.

“I also urge learners to check out our Ready to Pass? website to make sure they’re ready – and delay their test if they’re not. This will help make more tests available and prevent them having to pay to re-test.”

And the schemes get the full backing of Roads Minister Richard Holden, who added: “While driving is a fantastic gateway to independence, road safety must always come first and it’s important that learners only take their driving test when they are ready to do so.

“That’s why it’s great to see DVSA continue to push forward its #ReadytoPass campaign and introduce these changes to make sure applicants only take tests when they’re fully prepared and ready to pass.”

And there could be more changes in the pipeline. The DVSA has been consulting learner drivers to find out what information they would like to know about their instructor, such as pass rates etc.

Although there are no plans to make this a mandate at the moment, it will come as little surprise to learn the idea was met with enthusiasm from learner drivers with 79 per cent saying they wanted more data on their instructor’s performance.

In fairness, many instructors already display their certificates when they take their pupils for test. And this allows the DVSA to capture their pupil's performance data which instructors can use to help understand if there are any patterns in the types of faults their pupils are making. 

By mandating this it will allow DVSA to capture more accurate information that could be used as consumer information in future. 

With the driving test costing £62 and the theory test a further £23, learning to drive is not cheap, especially if there are numerous re-tests to factor in.

So, it’s clear to see why the DVSA is introducing the new measures, especially as February’s figures showed that 53 per cent of learners taking their driving test failed.

Related Articles

Parliament introduces new bill proposing Six-Month Graduated Licences for new drivers
The bill aims to impose restrictions on young drivers for their first six months as licence-holders
May 16, 2024
Should new drivers be able to carry passengers in their first year of driving?
Grieving families push for law change for under-25s
Apr 09, 2024
Reports of learner drivers cheating on theory tests has tripled
This increase in cheating comes amidst a backdrop of prolonged waiting times for booking practical driving tests due to the effects of...
Apr 05, 2024
Learner drivers waiting for an average of 14 weeks for a driving test
New data has revealed 45% of test centres are facing delays similar to or worse than pre-pandemic times
Mar 22, 2024