Wolverhampton named as location with UK's worst driving test pass rate

Wolverhampton has been named as the place where learner drivers are least likely to pass their test.

Wolverhampton is top of the list while Dudley is sixth.
Wolverhampton is top of the list while Dudley is sixth.

Research by Bill Plant Driving School ranked the city as the place with the worst pass rate between April 2021 and March this year. Nearby Dudley coming in sixth while Birmingham and Coventry also appeared in the bottom 10.

According to the research, Wolverhampton has an average pass rate of 37.2 per cent, with males having a higher pass rate than females at 39.6 per cent compared to 34.3.

Experts also found that for every 100,000 residents there are 113 approved driving instructors and 24,097 provisional licence holders, while also reporting 376 road accidents across the city during the last year.

Tom Hixon, Head of Instructor Support at Bill Plant Driving School, said: "Learning to drive is not only a pivotal moment in your life but can also be extremely nerve-wracking. Driving experiences can vary depending significantly on the roads you’re travelling on, so understanding the differences can be helpful. The learner driver index was designed to reveal the accident rates, congestion levels, driving test pass rates and the number of provisional licence holders in each area to better understand which UK regions are the best for learning to drive.

"Wolverhampton and Dudley, as we've seen with many larger urban centres such as London, typically have more learner drivers and higher levels of congestion, which fit hand-in-hand because of their relatively large population densities. In terms of pass rates, the spiral roundabouts in these areas are especially challenging, alongside faded road markings, and there are far more pedestrians to look out for, due to the sheer volume of people and side roads.

"While Wolverhampton and Dudley scored low across the board, this isn’t to say that learning to drive here is off the cards though. With plenty of practice and confidence, you’re bound to gain the freedom driving brings you."

Pin Binning, owner of DGN Driving School, agrees that Wolverhampton test centres are not the easiest places to pass at, but says there's lots to think about: "I don't think it's totally fair to rely on the statistics, because there are other factors to take into consideration. Wolverhampton is quite busy, there are loads of roundabouts, it is quite congested so you're going to come across a lot more hazards.

"If you compare that to a really quiet town somewhere in the countryside, or a test centre in a quiet town where the population is lower, Wolverhampton is going to be a lot harder.

"Another thing is, if you've done your test somewhere like that with less roundabouts and less hazards, it's going to be a lot easier to pass your driving test - and does it actually mean you're a good driver?

"Personally, I would rather pass in Wolverhampton than an easier area. In this city, you will be coming across hazards you come across every day and would have dealt with those situations already.

"Looking at the stats, people might say the drivers and instructors are bad, or the examiners are extra strict, but it's not fair to say that. There are lots of factors to it."

The research listed the 10 locations with the worst driving test pass rates as:

Wolverhampton - 37.2 per cent

Croydon - 38.8 per cent

Leeds - 39.8 per cent

Plymouth - 40 per cent

Birmingham - 40.8 per cent

Dudley - 41.7 per cent

Luton - 41.9 per cent

Sheffield - 41.9 per cent

Coventry - 42.8 per cent

Doncaster - 43 per cent

On the flip side, Durham was named as the place with the best pass rate, with an average of 63.4 per cent.

No Black Country or Staffordshire locations made the top 20 pass rate locations, with Worcester the nearest in 12th place with a pass rate of 56.4 per cent.

Researchers at Bill Plant Driving School also came up with a methodology to work out the best UK areas for learner drivers, based on the number of DVSA-approved driving instructors, the number of people with provisional licences, the number of road accidents, and driving test pass rates to give a score out of 10.

Gloucester came out top with a score of 8.55, with Worcester sixth on 7.41 and Stoke 15th with a score of 6.54.

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