Driving test gender gap pass rate narrows at Luton Test Centre

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Here are the latest statistics from the DVSA

The gap between male and female driving test pass rates narrowed at Luton Test Centre, new figures show.

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency show male drivers took 7,150 tests at Luton Test Centre in 2023, 2,869 of which were successful – a pass rate of 40.1 per cent.

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Meanwhile, 35.5 per cent of the 5,249 tests taken by women were passed over this period, giving a gap of 4.6 percentage points.

A learner driver drives down a street in Winchester. Picture: Steve Parsons/PAA learner driver drives down a street in Winchester. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA
A learner driver drives down a street in Winchester. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA

In 2019, 31 per cent of women gained their licence at the centre compared to 41.1 per cent of men – a difference of 10.1. It meant the gap has narrowed since then.

The overall pass rate at Luton Test Centre for 2023 was 38.2 per cent – up from 35.4 per cent four years before. This was one of the worst success rates, much lower than the average rate across Great Britain of 48.2 per cent.

Camilla Benitz, managing director of the AA Driving School, said: “Learners can only book their practical test once they have secured that all important theory test pass.

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“Given the long waits many learners are still facing to book their practical driving test, it is good to see the overall practical test pass rate has risen slightly, meaning fewer will face a lengthy wait to re-book another test.”

However, she added the pass rate for the theory test “is stubbornly low” and has fallen by a third since 2007-08.

Across the country, women proved better than men at theory tests. They had a pass rate of 46.8 per cent, while 43.5 per cent of tests taken by men were successful. In Luton, this stood at 44.5 per cent and 40.1 per cent, respectively.

Ms Benitz said while young male drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in a crash than young female drivers, this is not considered when it comes to insurance prices. It is currently illegal for insurers to take gender into account when calculating premiums.

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However, the Confused.com car insurance price index for the latest quarter of 2023 shows on average men were paying £177 more than women.

Louise Thomas, motor expert at the comparison site, said while gender is not considered, prices are based on other factors such as the type of vehicle, any modifications made to it, as well as claims and conviction history.

“Generally, men tend to drive powerful, more expensive cars. They also tend to have a higher claims and conviction rate than women, all of which contributes to reasons why prices might be higher.

“But under the EU law, if a man and woman have the exact same insurance details, then they should return the same prices,” she said.

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A DVSA spokesperson said: “DVSA's priority is to continue to reduce waiting times, and thanks to the measures we introduced since October 2023 we have reduced waiting times by more than four weeks and are on the way to reaching our target to provide an additional 150,000 tests.

“We continue to urge learners strongly to book their driving test only when they are ready to pass as it’s essential that all drivers demonstrate they have the right skills, knowledge, and attitude to drive safely.”

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