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London Learners Face Toughest Challenge to Pass Driving Test

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As the debate about driving tuition standards rumbles on, new research shows that learner drivers in London have a significantly low driving test pass rate. Book Theory Test Today looks at what factors are affecting poor pass results in Britain’s capital.

Learning to drive in London? According to new research, learning to drive in London yields one of the UK’s lowest, first time pass rates, in both the theory test & practical driving exam.

Commentators have differing ideas as to the cause of the steep decline in first time pass rates. Some say that the sheer volume of traffic, road signs and driving restrictions in the capital has a detrimental effect on a learner’s ability to drive in the city.  While others say that low pass rates are a result of poor driving tuition.

The Book Theory Test Today blogger says: “London has the highest concentration of road signs and markings in the UK. The road landscape is always changing.

Therefore, unless a driving instructor really knows London, teaching someone to drive in the city is a nightmare. Many amateur instructors often suffer the same confusion as the person they’re trying to teach.”


The research carried out by breakdown provider Green Flag reveals that, in 1994, more than half of learner drivers (52%) were passing a driving test at the first attempt, while 30% were successful at the second attempt.

Fast forward to 2014 and just 39% of candidates pass at the first attempt, with 35% passing second time round. The research also shows that 10% of learners are now taking four attempts or more before getting a full licence.

The Book Theory Test Today blogger says: “The research by Green Flag shows that pass rates in London have declined by 25%. Given the national average decline is only 12.5%, candidates are really struggling to pass the test in London, first time round.”

Driver testing too demanding

Can the decline be attributed to the demands put on learners nowadays? With the introduction of the theory test, hazard perception test and an ‘on the road exam’, so much more is expected of learners. Back in 1994, the average number of hours a learner required driver tutoring stood at 30. Today, that number has risen to 47.

20 years ago, parents felt they were able to pass their driving skills on to their child(ren), teaching them enough to pass the driving test. In 1994, there was no theory test element and there was less traffic on London roads. Therefore, candidates were under less pressure and could learn at leisure with their parents.

But, the driving landscape in London has changed so much for parents over the last 20 years that they no longer feel capable of teaching their child(ren) to drive.

Your thoughts

Are you learning to drive in London? We’d like to hear about your experiences. Is it more challenging and demanding than you expected? Do you face some of the issues highlighted in this blog? Let us know, leave a comment.

Book Theory Test Today offers an intermediary service assisting clients with booking a UK theory test, or practical test, at test centres across the nation. The service also supplies resources to help you prepare for your theory test – Ready to take your theory test? Book your theory test online today…



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