The following is a synopsis of learner driver statistics compiled by Michael Morris, a Digital Relations Consultant. The full article can be read at:
Best and worst place to pass the driving test:
Some of the best areas for first-time pass rates included:
• Isle of Mull – 90.9%
• Inverary – 89.4%
• Pitlochry – 84.8%
• Ballater – 78.3%
• Mallaig – 78.3%
The following centres had the worst first-time pass rates in Britain:
• Carlisle LGV – 25.7%
• Birmingham (The Pavilion) – 26.2%
• Rochdale (Manchester) – 28.2%
• Enfield (Bancroft Way) – 28.6%
• Erith (London) – 30.1%
Reasons for failing the driving test:
According to the DVSA in 2019/20, the top ten reasons for failing your driving test were:
• Junctions (observation)
• Mirrors (change direction)
• Control (steering)
• Move off (safely)
• Junctions (turning right)
• Move off (control)
• Response to signals (traffic lights)
• Positioning (normal driving)
• Reverse park (control)
• Response to signals (traffic signs)
In the same year, 6,121 people passed first-time with zero faults.
Learner driver demographics
We associate learner drivers with teenagers, but it’s not just the young who learn to drive. Government statistics showed that as many as 3,782 people aged 61 or over took a driving test in the UK between 2019 and 2020. Of those, just 1,330 would pass their test, with 739 men and 591 women.
By contrast, the most successful demographic for passing on the first attempt was those aged 17, with as many as 55.8% in this bracket earning their licence on the first try. There’s a noticeable decline in first time pass rates for those aged 18-23, with results showing an average drop-off to 46.3% - a decrease of 9.5%.
For all these ages the overall, first-time pass rates are:
• 17-year-olds – 55.8%
• 18-year-olds – 47.6%
• 19-year-olds – 45.3%
• 20-year-olds – 44.8%
• 21-year-olds – 45.7%
• 22-year-olds – 46.3%
• 23-year-olds – 46.3%
From this age on there’s a gradual decline until around only a third of learners are passing first time aged around 51. Numbers tend to fluctuate more at this point because there are significantly fewer people taking the test. Comparing men and women, there was a slight divide in the successful pass rates between genders in both the practical and theory tests.
• Female – 49%, Male – 45%
• Female – 42.6%, Male – 49.6%
The numbers of attempts for men and women to fully attain their licence were:
Male Attempts: (1) 180,999 (2) 96,804 (3) 48,687 (4) 24,314 (5) 12,395 (6+) 14,835
Female Attempts: (1) 153,418 (2) 91,876 (3) 49,873 (4) 26,813 (5) 1 4,502 (6+) 20,060
Points on a learner driver’s licence
Points on your provisional are carried over to your full licence if they haven’t expired. If you do get a total of 6 or more points within two years of passing your test your licence will be revoked so you can no longer drive. So, if you rack up lots of points on your provisional licence, your full licence can instantly be revoked when you pass. You’ll also have to get a provisional licence and take both theory and practical parts of the driving test again to regain a full licence.
The following were the primary offences by learner drivers at the latest count in the UK:
• 142 – Dangerous and drunk driving offences
• 2,295 – Speeding fines
• 382 – Accounts of insurance error
• 58 – Vehicle test condition offences
• 302 – Other motoring offences
Why are learner drivers most at risk?
The following are the main reasons why learner drivers might be at risk:
• Overconfidence. Few people start out super confident, but it only takes a few good lessons to gain an increased amount of confidence. Some drivers think they’re ready to tackle the road at the same level of competence as experienced motorists. As many as 98% of young drivers think they are safe, but this is almost always not the case.
• Poor assessment of hazards. Most learners won’t be familiar with all the different hazards and risks found on the road, due to a lack of on-road experience. Experienced heads will spot danger before an incident occurs. A learner may not.
• Unfamiliar conditions. Weather, low light levels, or having more passengers in the car than normal, can play a huge factor in driving. An experienced motorist will be able to adapt quickly, but it can be difficult for newcomers to the road, resulting in a greater risk of danger.
Learner driver insurance
If you’re having lessons with a professional driving school, then most of them include insurance in the price of the lessons. But if you want to practice in your own car, or in a friend’s or relative’s car, then you will need insurance.
A dedicated learner driver insurance policy will cover you for your practice lessons in your own time as long as you are with a qualified and eligible supervisor. This can be a friend or family member, but they must be at least 21-years-old and have held a full driving licence of their own for at least three years. However, some insurance providers may have their own limits, such as a minimum supervisor age of 25, so you should check for any limits to your cover. Other limits could include the time of day you’re allowed to drive.
It is important to know that, while learner driver insurance can cover you for your driving test, if you then pass the test, you will no longer be covered to drive the car home as a qualified driver.
A learner driver insurance policy acts as a separate policy to your supervisor’s insurance. This means that you don’t need to worry about their policy and potential no claims bonus being affected, if you get into an accident while driving their car. Comprehensive car insurance may be the ideal type of insurance for you as a learner driver, as it provides the most cover. However, finding the most suitable policy as a learner driver will depend on your personal circumstances and how much you can afford. There are three main types of cover available:
• third party only – this covers you for any injury you cause to other people and any damage to their property.
• third party fire and theft – similar to a third-party policy, except that it also includes cover for the theft of your vehicle or damage by fire.
• comprehensive – includes all the cover of a third-party fire and theft policy, but also protects you as a driver and can pay out for damage you cause to your own car. You might think this would be the most expensive type of policy but that’s not always the case, so it’s worth comparing your options to get the right cover for you.
Reducing the cost of learner driver insurance
By sharing your car with an experienced driver you could reduce the cost of your premium by adding them to your insurance policy. The insurance provider takes both drivers’ information into consideration and creates a price based on each of you sharing the car.
Offer to pay a higher voluntary excess. Although this could cost you more in the event of a claim, as you’ll need to pay the amount of excess you choose in addition to the compulsory excess set by the provider, it could mean a cheaper monthly premium in the short term. Make sure you could afford the total in the event of needing to make a claim.
Black box, or telematics, policies come with a device or an app that monitors your driving habits. These are particularly good for learner drivers without a long record of driving safely, because insurance providers perceive learner drivers to pose a greater risk. A black box monitors your speed, steering and braking, as well as where, and how far, you drive. If you can prove that you’re a safe driver, you could save on your insurance.