The Most Common Reasons for UK Driving Test Failures


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The number one reason for learner drivers being unable to successfully pass their practical tests is failing to perform proper checks at junctions, it has been revealed in a new study. Some of the other key issues responsible for new drivers being denied their licences include them being unable to properly reverse, and demonstrating a lack of control over their vehicles.

The study

A new study has examined the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency practical test results from the last 11 years, in order to find out the areas that are the most likely to catch out new drivers. The lack of observation at junctions is the biggest single reason for learners failing to pass their tests, with the second most common cause being the improper use of mirrors when changing directions. The third most common failure on the list was revealed to be reversing around corners and reverse parking, with the top five most common causes of failure for new drivers turning out to be loss of control, and mistakes committed when turning the right way out of a junction.

Warranty provider Warranty Direct was responsible for carrying out the analysis of the DVSA data. Simon Ackers, the company’s chief executive officer, commented that less complicated driving tasks being the main reason for failure is a surprising find. He said that it will be interesting to look at how future test results will be affected by the new changes and the pass rate across 2018 and 2019.

The changes

The new changes will mean that new drivers will not face such an issue with reversing around corners, as this particular manoeuvre was taken out of the practical test, along with the turn in the road requirement, in December of last year. Replacement manoeuvres that have been added to the new test mean that candidates have to park in a marked bay, pull up on the right of a road, reverse for a total of two full car lengths and merge back into traffic, or parallel park by a roadside. New drivers will also have to spend much more time in independent driving, follow instructions given by a sat nav and answer more safety questions.

Higher standards

2017 had the joint highest rate for test passes in 11 years, according to the data. 47.1 percent of new drivers taking their test passed; an increase of 4.1 percent in the 11 years since 2006. There has also been a rise in the amount of students that pass their tests without making a single mistake, an increase of 400 percent from 3,329 up to 17,950. However, the data from the first quarter of 2018 shows that pass rates have already declined by 46.6 percent, though it is unclear whether this is attributable to the changes to the driving tests. According to government data, more male candidates are passing driving tests than female ones, at a rate of 50 percent to between 43 and 44 percent in the seven years since 2011.