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8 minute read Learner Drivers

The UK’s Toughest (& Easiest) Driving Test Centres

Passing your driving test is a rite of passage, some drivers succeed first time, and others take several attempts to shed their L plates.
Yet, depending on where you are in the country (and who you are), you may be at a disadvantage.

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by Louise Thomas

To help learn more about driving tests, Veygo learner driver insurance analysed pass rates from each of the UK’s 372 test centres – from Penzance to Orkney – to determine those where you’re either more, or less, likely to find yourself throwing away your L plates.

The results showed us where’s best in the UK to take your driving test, where you’re better off avoiding, and how age affects your ability to pass with flying colours.

The UK’s toughest driving test centre

The Pavilion Test Centre in Birmingham has been named as the UK’s toughest driving centre, having the worst pass rates nationwide.

The test centre, just outside of the city centre, has a pass rate of just 28.9% – almost 20% lower than the national average. Women fared particularly poorly in the Pavilion, with fewer than one in four passing their test!

On the other hand, the easiest centre in the country was the Isle of Mull, just off the West coast of Scotland, with a pass rate of 91.7%, followed closely by Inveraray, with a pass rate of 91.2%. In fact, 17 of the top 20 were all situated in rural Scottish areas.

The toughest

  1. Birmingham (The Pavilion) – 28.9%
  2. Rochdale (Manchester) – 31.1%
  3. Carlisle LGV – 31.5%
  4. Erith (London) – 31.6%
  5. Birmingham (South Yardley) – 32.2%
  6. National Driving Centre (Croydon) – 33.3%
  7. Speke (Liverpool) – 33.5%
  8. Leeds – 33.9%
  9. Wanstead (London) – 33.9%
  10. Birmingham (Kingstanding) – 35.1%
  11. Bury (Manchester) – 35.4%
  12. Birmingham (Sutton Coldfield) – 35.4%
  13. Wednesbury – 35.8%
  14. Belvedere (London) – 36.3%
  15. Wolverhampton – 36.5%
  16. Stoke-On-Trent (Cobridge) – 37.1%
  17. Luton – 37.3%
  18. Hayes (London) – 37.4%
  19. Cheetham Hill (Manchester) – 37.5%
  20. Barking (Tanner Street) – 38.1%

The easiest

  1. Isle of Mull – 91.7%
  2. Inveraray – 91.2%
  3. Isles of Scilly – 83.3%
  4. Mallaig – 83.3%
  5. Pitlochry – 82.8%
  6. Isle of Tiree – 80.0%
  7. Campbeltown – 78.9%
  8. Islay Island – 77.4%
  9. Lochgilphead – 77.3%
  10. Ballater – 76.2%
  11. Arbroath – 75.0%
  12. Golspie – 72.7%
  13. Grantown-On-Spey – 71.1%
  14. Ullapool – 69.0%
  15. Montrose – 68.9%
  16. Forfar – 68.6%
  17. Orkney – 68.5%
  18. Llandrindod Wells – 67.7%
  19. Malton – 67.3%
  20. Duns – 67.2%

City drivers are still less likely to pass their test but chances are improving…

If you take your test in a built-up area, your chances of passing fall considerably.

National average (46.3%)

Leeds (33.9%)

Birmingham (38.6%)

Glasgow (40.0%)

Sheffield (40.5%)

Liverpool (42.4%)

London (42.9%)

Manchester (43.8%)

Southampton (44.5%)

Sunderland (45.1%)

Edinburgh (45.4%)

Whereas in 2017 Cardiff (52.8%) was the only city to beat the national average, Bristol (47.2%), Nottingham (48.7%) and Swansea (52.5%) have now fallen the right side of the line also. So things are looking up for city drivers!

Women are 7% less likely to pass their driving test than men

While 50.0% of men passed their driving tests, only 43% of women did.

2018-19 saw 761,587 males take their test, with 379,203 passes and 854,644 female tests taken with 364,734 passes.

But what does the list of easiest, and toughest, test centres look like when broken down by gender?

The Toughest (Men) The Easiest (Men)
1. Beverley LGV – 20.0% 1. Inveraray – 94.4%
2. Erith (London) – 32.2% 2. Pitlochry – 85.2%
3. Carlisle LGV – 33.3% 3. Mallaig – 81.8%
4. Wanstead (London) – 36.0% 4. Lochgilphead – 81.1%
5. Birmingham (The Pavilion) – 37.0% 5. Alnwick – 80.9%
6. Rochdale (Manchester) – 37.2% 6. Campbeltown – 80.0%
7. Leeds – 37.4% 7. Arbroath – 76.7%
8. Speke (Liverpool) – 37.5% 8. Forfar – 75.7%
9. Birmingham (South Yardley) – 38.3% 9. Dunoon – 75.6%
10. Bury St Edmunds – 38.7% 10. Orkney – 74.4%

 

The Toughest (Women) The Easiest (Women)
1. Birmingham (The Pavilion) – 23.4% 1. Inveraray – 87.5%
2. Rochdale (Manchester) – 26.2% 2. Mallaig – 85.7%
3. Birmingham (South Yardley) – 27.2% 3. Ballater – 82.1%
4. Speke (Liverpool) – 29.7% 4. Islay Island – 81.3%
5. Carlisle LGV – 30.0% 5. Pitlochry – 81.1%
6. Leeds – 30.8% 6. Grantown-On-Spey – 81.0%
7. Birmingham (Kingstanding) – 30.8% 7. Campbeltown – 78.1%
8. Wednesbury – 31.0% 8. Beverley LGV – 75.0%
9. Erith (London) – 31.1% 9. Rothesay – 74.2%
10. Bury (Manchester) – 31.3% 10. Golspie – 73.9%

*There is no available data by gender for the following test centres: Darlington LGV, Enfield (Brancroft Way), Isle of Mull, Isle of Tiree, Isles of Scilly, National Driving Centre (Croydon), Thurrock LGV (London)

Older Drivers Are Less Likely to Pass Their Test

If you’re considering putting off learning to drive, the statistics suggest that might not be such a good idea. Driving test success rates plummet as prospective drivers go into their twenties and thirties.

Age Pass Rate (%)
17 55.8
18 47.6
19 45.2
20 45.0
21 45.5
22 46.5
23 46.2
24 45.9
25 45.7
26 45.0
27 44.5
28 42.9
29 42.3
30 41.6
35 38.7
40 36.6
45 35.0
50 34.6
55 34.4
60 31.2
60+ 34.4

 

We’ve also pulled the stats together as an infographic which can be seen below:

Fancy sharing our infographic?

Data Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/car-driving-test-data-by-test-centre#history.

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Louise Thomas

Hi I'm Louise and I'm a Marketing Executive at Veygo. I've been driving for nearly two years after several "practice" tests! I love the freedom that comes with finally having a driving licence. Road trips with my friends are the best - especially when we've got an awesome playlist going! (check out our Spotify for road trip playlists!)

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