Two London areas named amongst the hardest places to pass your driving test

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The average pass rate for practical driving tests in Great Britain is 48%, but at two London test centres it is much lower at around 36%.

London’s Belvedere and Chingford DVSA test centres have been named amongst the hardest places to take your practical driving test in Great Britain, as pass rates here are around 12% lower than the national average.

That’s according to a new report from the temporary learner driver car insurance experts at Dayinsure.

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They used the latest DVSA data to explore which areas have the highest and lowest pass rates.

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Between April 2023 to March 2024, there were over 1.3 million practical driving tests conducted across Great Britain, with an average pass rate of 48%.

At London’s Belvedere test centre specifically (in South East London near Woolwich), the pass rate is just 35.1% though, placing it in position four in the bottom ten in the country.

Also in the bottom ten was nearby Chingford test centre (in North East London near Enfield), which had a below-average pass rate of just 36.2%.

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In contrast, the pass rate in Enfield was much higher at 52.4%, suggesting learners may want to book in here for a better chance of getting their full pink licence.

It was also higher in Hornchurch (52.4%), Hither Green (51.6%) and Tolworth (51.3%).

The test centres with the lowest practical driving test pass rates (at least 250 tests done here in the last year) are:

  1. Wolverhampton (West Midlands - England) – 32.4%
  2. Speke (Liverpool - England) – 32.7%
  3. Featherstone (West Midlands - England) – 33.3%
  4. Belvedere (London - England) – 35.1%
  5. Chingford (London - England) – 36.2%
  6. Norris Green (Liverpool - England) – 36.7%
  7. Wednesbury (West Midlands – England) – 36.8%
  8. Cannock Street (Leicester - England) – 37.4%
  9. Grimsby Coldwater (Lincolnshire - England) – 37.9%
  10. Crawley (West Sussex - England) – 38%

The LONDON test centres with the LOWEST practical driving test pass rates:

1. Belvedere – 35.1%

2. Chingford – 36.2%

3. Barking (Tanner Street) – 39.6%

4. Greenford (Horsenden Lane) – 40.3%

5. Wanstead – 40.4%

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According to the latest data, the test centres with the highest practical driving test pass rates are mostly located in rural Scotland and the north of England.

The test centres with the highest practical driving test pass rates (at least 250 tests done here in the last year) are:

  1. Arbroath (Scotland) – 73.1%
  2. Forfar (Scotland) – 72.3%
  3. Montrose (Scotland) – 69.7%
  4. Kelso (Scotland) – 67.5%
  5. Hawick (Scotland) – 67.4%
  6. Peebles (Scotland) – 67.1%
  7. Newtown (Wales) – 66.7%
  8. Barrow in Furness (England - Cumbria) – 66.5%
  9. Lerwick (Scotland) – 66.5%
  10. Oxenholme Road Kendal (England - Cumbria) – 65.8%

Dayinsure also found out the most common faults that lead to driving test fails in the last twelve months.Learners will pass their driving test if they make no more than 15 driving faults (sometimes called ‘minors’) and no serious or dangerous faults (sometimes called ‘majors’).

The most common dangerous faults that led to an instant driving test fail were (last 12 months):

1. Loss of control while forward parking – (25%)

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2. Insufficient observation while at a junction (17%)

3. Failing to use mirrors when changing direction (10%)

4. Loss of steering control specifically (7.2%)

5. Insufficient observation while forward parking – (6.6%)

6. Failure to leave sufficient clearance when passing obstructions (4.5%)

7. Failure to judge risks at a crossing (4.5%)

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8. Failure to judge risks when meeting another car (3.8%)

9. Failure to move off safely (2.5%)

10. Failure to maintain control of the car when moving off (2.1%)

The fewest faults were given out to learners taking their practical driving test in April while the most faults were given out to learners taking their practical driving test in November.

If drivers fail their first test, it can take a while for them to get another chance to pass. Wait times vary from at least 10 weeks in the north of England, up to almost half a year (21 weeks) in Greater London.

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Overall, the average wait time for a practical driving test in Great Britain is now 15 weeks.

The theory test is no easy task either, as nearly half of candidates currently fail at this stage (45%).

Commenting on the data, Nicholas Shaw, Director of Operations at Dayinsure said: “It is clear to see from our new report that driving test pass rates fluctuate up and down the country, and learners in some areas may also struggle to find an instructor in time to start their driving lessons on time.

“We would like to remind learners that they don’t need to wait for their instructor to start practising for their practical driving test.

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“With Dayinsure, you can practise in a borrowed car (or your own), as long as you’re supervised by someone who’s over 25 years old who’s held a British driving licence for at least three years. However, you must take care to ensure that everyone is fully insured to drive the vehicle.

“If you want to improve your chances of passing the first time, temporary learner driver insurance is a cheap and flexible option to get covered for your private practice sessions with your friends or family.”