Learner drivers in Norfolk and Suffolk are outperforming the national average when taking their theory and practical tests.
The latest data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, covering April to December 2018, shows male learners continued to dominate the practical test. However, both male and female candidates in Norfolk and Suffolk beat the average for Great Britain.
54.1% of males and 47.8% of females passed their manual test, compared to 45.7% nationally.
On the automatic driving test for the 2017/18 year, the pass rate in Norfolk and Suffolk was also higher than the national average – 47.3% of males and 41.6% of females passed, compared to 38.9% for Great Britain overall.
Females are better, in theory
Female candidates in Norfolk and Suffolk, in line with the rest of the country, once again showed they perform better on the theory test with 49.4% of learners passing the test, compared to 45.8% of males.
Female candidates at the Norwich test centre did particularly well, with a 56% pass rate. The national average for males and females was 47.4%.
Howard Floyd, founder of How-2-Drive, said:
“It has long been the case that males seem to do better on the practical test, and females on the theory test. A lot of it is down to confidence; even the most competent of learners can fall apart in a test if their nerves get to them.
“That’s not to say males make better drivers than females. Although we do put a lot of focus on the driving test because that’s what we are working towards, we are more concerned about developing people into the drivers they will be after the test.
“We want them to remember all aspects of their lessons, including the information they learnt for the theory test, because that will help keep them and other road users safe.”
Passing without fault
Among those taking their practical test were a special minority who had perfect drives and passed at the first attempt with zero faults. A total of 262 learners managed this in 2017/18 in Norfolk and Suffolk. This accounts for just 1% of all the candidates across the two counties who were taking their test for the first time.
At How-2-Drive, we’re very proud to have had seven zero fault passes so far in 2019.
“It is a fantastic achievement to pass first time with zero faults.
“The majority of our pupils pass with just one or two faults, reflecting our commitment to giving pupils the skills they need to become safe and competent drivers.
“When they have that solid foundation built in lessons, it usually shows through when they go for their test. More importantly, they then carry on being safe drivers once they’re out and about on their own.”
Does age matter?
17-year-old learners obviously have the confidence of youth on their side, as they were the year group (DVSA publishes data on 17-25-year-olds specifically) that enjoyed the most test success in 2017/18. Across all of Norfolk and Suffolk, it was 17-year-olds at all test centres who were most likely to pass. The only exception was King’s Lynn, where they were pipped by 23-year-olds.
“It is true that younger pupils do seem to pick up the technical skills of driving quickly. Many 17-year-olds have been chomping at the bit to start lessons so are really committed to the idea of getting their own car and the freedoms it brings.
“However, I do think our older pupils are better with hazard-perception, particularly as they have more experience of being on the road as a passenger.
“Whatever age you decide to start lessons, and however many attempts it takes at the test, the most important thing is the safe driver you become – you are never too old to give it a try.”
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