More than £60m spent on failed driving tests in 2016

New research has found more than a combined £60 million was spent on failed practical and theory driving tests in 2016.

Moneybarn found that more than £40 million was lost on practical tests and another £20 million was spent on failed theory tests.

Analysis of statistics from the DVSA has revealed a huge drop in theory pass rates over the last decade, from an average of 66 percent in 2007/08 to 49 percent last year. In financial terms, this equates to over an additional £10 million spent on failed theory tests.

The drop coincided with multiple changes to the theory test, starting in 2007. The main changes included; an increase to the number of questions (35 to 50), the addition of a new case study section with accompanying questions, and test questions no longer being published online.

The changes to the practical test, coming into effect this December, are being made for a number of reasons. One major factor is that road collisions are the biggest killer of young people, accounting for a quarter of all deaths of those aged 15 to 19. It is hoped the proposed changes will allow new drivers to get used to all types of roads, including high-speed, so they’re as prepared as possible before driving independently.

Learners will also need to prove they can follow directions using a sat nav. This change reflects the fact that 53 percent of drivers now own one and the DVSA wants to make sure new drivers are trained to use them safely. The hope is that the changes, which were supported by a public consultation of over 3,900 people, will improve road safety and help new drivers adapt to modern technology.

However, given that pass rates went down when changes were made to the theory test in the UK, we might expect the changes to the practical test to have a similar impact on pass rates, and this could mean a further increase of losses because of failed test attempts in the year ahead and beyond.

Simon Bayley, Sales and Marketing Director of Moneybarn, commented on the analysis, saying: “This highlights an interesting trend in theory tests following changes, which could provide an indication of what we can expect from December. As technology on our roads develops, the tests that allow our drivers on them must also advance.

“These changes should provide new drivers with the skills and awareness to keep themselves and others safe as transport in the UK goes through a period of transition.”

James Ash


Content Marketing Executive at

August 14, 2017

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