Welsh driving-test pass rates beat UK national average, but there are concerns over driving test changes.
Veygo, part of the Admiral Insurance group based in Cardiff, showed Park Avenue Test Centre in Aberystwyth, is the top place to take your driving test, with 65% now passing their test at the centre.
This marks the highest pass rate on record for the centre. With only 35% of all learners failing their test, the centre now sits 16.6 percentage points above the UK national average of 48.4%.
In positive news, the worst ranking centre in Wales, Newport Test Centre, achieved a pass rate of 47.4%, only one percentage point below the UK national average of 48.4%. Newport was the only test centre in Wales to fall below the UK national average, with the second worst performer, Bala, achieving a 49.2% pass rate.
Welsh pass rates are revealed by Veygo following news that rule changes to tackle poor pass rates will be introduced, making it more difficult for ‘unprepared’ learners to take a test before they are ready.
With the new changes, if learner drivers need to retake their test, they will have to wait 28 days rather than 10 to book their new test date.
Veygo finds learners slow to get behind the wheel
The rule change is designed to encourage learners to feel ready before taking a driving test, as they won’t be able to repeat it soon after failing, and to give them adequate time to prepare before retaking their test.
The rule change does not yet have the green light but highlights ongoing concerns around pass rates across the UK.
Across the UK, an average of 48.4% of learners passed their driving test in the 22/3 period, down from 48.9% in the previous year.
UK pass rates have remained stagnant over the past 10 years with an average pass rate of 47.3%, meaning more than half of all learners fail their driving test each year.
Stalling pass rates will be particularly concerning for learner drivers amid the cost-of-living crisis, following reports from Veygo that the cost of learning to drive is increasing.
James Armstrong, CEO of Veygo said, “Veygo recently revealed the average cost of learning to drive hit £1,575 in 2023, with the average driving lesson now costing £35 per hour and learner drivers needing around 45 hours of professional instruction to pass.
“We’re hopeful that the changes to driving tests will give learner drivers more time to prepare for retakes, reducing the likelihood of repeated failures and easing pressure on test centres across the country.”
Reported road casualties provisional results for 2022 show a return towards pre-pandemic trends.
As both 2020 and 2021 included periods of lockdown, the comparison is with 2019 figures, the most recent equivalent pre-pandemic year.
In reported road collisions in Great Britain in 2022 there were an estimated: 1,695 fatalities, a decline of 3% compared to 2019; 29,795 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties, a decline of 3% compared to 2019 with 136,002 casualties of all severities, a decline of 11% compared to 2019.
There were also 1,458 casualties in collisions involving e-scooters, compared to 1,434 in 2021 with 12 deaths, including one pedestrian.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said, “There’s no doubt these figures make for gloomy reading – after a reduction in fatalities on our roads during the coronavirus lockdowns, the numbers are now rising again.
“And, while the lack of progress over many years in bringing overall casualty numbers down is itself a cause for concern, the figures for the number of men – of all age groups, but especially the young – who are killed on our roads is stark.”
He added, “We urge the Government to take a serious look at reintroducing casualty reductions targets to give the whole topic much more focus on a national stage.
“RAC research also shows an increasing proportion of drivers are concerned about the poor standard of driving – as many as one-in-three say it is one of their main concerns.
“As a result, we strongly believe the Government should look at whether the long-term decline in full-time road traffic police officers has led to a worsening in driver behaviour and a rise in casualties as a result.”