Learner drivers in Peterhead are up to the test
The driving test pass rate surged to a record high in Peterhead during the coronavirus pandemic – although far fewer tests took place amid a year of restrictions.
Quieter roads and "incredibly motivated" key workers taking their tests are thought to be behind the rate also hitting a record high the country in 2020-21.
However, the latest figures will do little to comfort those who had their tests cancelled due to Covid restrictions.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency data shows that of 332 practical tests at Peterhead Test Centre in 2020-21, 231 ended in success – a pass rate of 70 per cent. That was up from 63 per cent the previous year, and the highest rate since comparable records began in 2007-08.
However, far fewer tests were undertaken at Peterhead Test Centre over the latest period due to Covid-19 restrictions, which saw only key workers permitted to take tests during the enforced lockdowns.
In total, there were 332 driving tests in 2020-21 – compared to 1,057 in 2019-20 – with 396 cancelled due to the pandemic.
Robert Cowell, interim managing director of AA Driving School, said: “The increase in the driving test pass rate could be down to a number of things including quieter roads during tests.
"In addition, during lockdowns, tests were only allowed for key workers who needed to drive for their job, and this probably also goes some way to explaining the higher pass rate during these months as the candidates would have been incredibly motivated to pass."
Mr Cowell said demand for driving tests was now "sky-high" due to the number of cancellations last year – but many learners are facing a frustrating wait of more than three months for a test.
Meanwhile, the DSVA said traffic levels were regularly reviewed to ensure traffic was at a sufficient level to test a candidate's ability.
Loveday Ryder, DVSA chief executive, said: "All candidates are assessed to the same level and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day."
DVSA data also showed the rate of success for people taking their driving test for the first time. At Peterhead Test Centre, 163 out of 227 people passed on the first attempt in 2020-21 – 72 per cent.