Great Britain

Bradford has second worst pass rate in England for driving theory test, new figures reveal

BRADFORD has the second worst pass rate in the country again when it comes to taking the driving theory test, new figures have revealed.

In the first six months of this year, the total number of car theory tests taken at the centre in Little Germany was 13,205, with only 5,397 of learners reaching the required standard - a rate of 40.9 per cent.

The only place in England with a worse record is Blandford Forum, a town in Dorset, whose learner drivers achieved a pass rate of just 37.8 per cent.

The data, which covers the six month period from April to September 2019, has been released by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, which is responsible for carrying out the tests.

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In recent years, Bradford fared better in 2017/18 when it was the joint fifth worst area in England, with a pass rate of 41.8 per cent. The data for 2018/19 indicated a rate of 39.4 per cent, which put the district second again, this time behind Bodmin, a town in Cornwall.

So far this financial year, the worst month for passing the theory test was June, compared to July which had a pass rate five points higher.

In addition, the pass rates for the first six months of the year showed a higher rate for tests taken by women - 43.1 per cent, compared to 38.9 per cent for men in the district.

Other areas which performed poorly, were Birmingham in third place with 41.5 per cent, Ely in fourth place with 41.7 per cent, and Ilford in fifth place with 42.3 per cent.

Bradford driving instructor Ayub Kahn of iDrive told the Telegraph & Argus that he was not surprised by the low pass rate for the district.

He said: “There are two problems here. The first is that nobody wants to actually learn the theory needed for the test - they practice on a free app that only has a bank of 100 questions and expect to pass, rather than actually studying. The other issue is that the style of language in the test needs to be made simpler for those whom English isn’t their first language.”

He added that he had started offering theory lessons in the last few months, such was the difficulty of people locally in passing the test, which involves two parts, a series of multiple-choice questions, and a hazard perception test.

To pass, would-be drivers must gain 43 out of 50 in the first section, and 44 out of 75 in the hazard section. Those who fail must wait three working days before taking the theory test again.

Once successful in the theory, a learner must pass the practical driving test within two years, otherwise they will need to pass the theory test again.

The driving theory test was first introduced in 1996 as a written test, which was updated to computerised format in 2000. The hazard perception part of the test was introduced two years later.

The data also shows that the pass rate for the practical test in Bradford continues to lag behind the national average.

In the six months from April 2019, the pass rate at the Heaton test centre was 40.7 per cent, while at the Thornbury and Steeton centres it was 45.3 per cent. This compares to the national average of 46.3 per cent.

The figures indicate that the three practical test centres are in the top 100 nationally when it comes to the lowest pass rates. Heaton was placed 37th and Thornbury and Steeton, joint 88th, in England.

This compares to other centres in the region, as follows: Leeds - 8th at 33.9 per cent; Heckmondwike - 40th at 40.8 per cent; and the centre in Halifax - 43rd at 40.9 per cent.

Earlier this year the T&A reported how the Heaton test centre, on Farfield Street, in Bradford, has ranked as one of the hardest in the region to pass the practical driving test from.

A Freedom of Information request revealed the number of ‘multiple testers’ - those who needed more than five attempts to pass - there were at each testing centre in the country for 2018-19.

The national average is 1.82 per cent, but the Heaton centre was ranked fifth in Yorkshire and the Humber, with 2.53 per cent of people needing to take more than five tests.