Many learner drivers fail their practical test first time around – making the on-line assessment a surprisingly lucrative system for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
Statistics show that over £68 million was paid by drivers that ultimately went on to fail their test during 2016/17.
Over the course of 12 months, hundreds of thousands of motorists took their test, with a pass rate of just below half. As a result, while passed tests brought in a turnover of £66.2 million, the DVSA actually benefitted more financially from people failing to make the grade when it came to demonstrating their driving skills. In total, around £135 million in revenue was collected from all practical driving tests, including those for cars, motorcycles and lorries.
Jake Smith, Managing Director of Absolute Reg, said, “The official statistics are very interesting and show that the government makes a substantial amount of money from people failing their test. The relatively low pass rates indicate either that many instructors are putting their students forward for their test too soon or that the drivers themselves don’t want to continue with lessons, likely because of the high costs.
“The £135 million generated from driving tests overall proves just how lucrative the industry can be and how much it costs those desperate to get behind the wheel.”
The associated costs and risk of failure isn’t putting off budding drivers eager to sit their test for the first time. During 2016/17, 33,584 learner drivers got behind the wheel during a test for the first time, with just over 47% successfully obtaining their licence. However, the official statistics also showed that a surprising number of people continue to pursue their driving ambitions despite numerous failures. In the last financial year, over 33,500 people took their test for at least their sixth time.
Another finding that may shock potential drivers planning their lessons is that the automatic pass rate is actually fairly low. While 43% of people passed their test in a manual car, just 38% did so in an automatic vehicle despite the general belief that automatics are easier to drive.