Everything a girl needs to know about cars
Women less likely to pass their driving test than men, new data shows
Gemma Masini
December 6, 2017

Women in cities fare particularly badly, with fewer than 30% passing in parts of London, Manchester and Birmingham
Young men claim 14% more on insurance than young women – and their claims are 46% more expensive

Although they’re statistically less likely to be in a serious accident, women are still faring worse than men when it comes to passing their driving test, according to analysis by learner driver insurance provider Veygo by Admiral.

A combination of DVLA learner driver data and Admiral’s own accident figures were used to compile the most comprehensive picture to date of learning to drive in the UK. It forms part of the learner driver insurance specialist’s campaign to give young drivers the best information possible to help them pass their tests.

The statistics show that 51% of men passed their test in 2016-17, compared to 44% of women. This is despite figures showing young men (aged 17-21) claim 14% more frequently than young women on their car insurance, and their claims are 46% more expensive than similarly-aged women.*

Last year, there were 1,730,921 driving tests taken in the UK. 815,168 tests were passed in total – 51.3% by men and 48.7% by women.

Overall, women fare much better in Scotland and Wales – pass rates in England are 4% and 6% lower than in those countries respectively. England has the lowest overall pass rate for women – at 43%.

In some parts of the UK, particularly in busy urban areas, fewer than one in three women are passing their driving test.

10 Test Centres Where Women Perform the Worst

1 Belvedere (London) 24.9%
2 Cheetham Hill (Manchester) 27.7%
3 South Yardley (Birmingham) 28.0%
4 Salford (Manchester) 29.0%
=5 Erith (London) 29.2%
=5 Wanstead (London) 29.2%
7 Garston (Liverpool) 29.3%
8 Wednesbury (Staffordshire) 29.4%
9 Barking (London) 29.8%
10 Barnet (London) 30.1%

Veygo’s in-depth research is the basis of an interactive map, allowing drivers to see pass rates of test centres near them so they can make an informed decision about where to take their test. Its cost calculator also helps new road users to estimate how much it will cost them to learn to drive.
Of 349 UK test centres, only 14 recorded better pass rates for women rather than men, while 11 of these were in remote parts of Scotland and Wales. There were only three test centres in England where women outperformed men – Wellingborough, Northamptonshire; Trowbridge, Wiltshire and Camborne, Cornwall.

The UK Test Centres Where Women Outperform Men

1 Kingussie (MPR) 47.9% (FPR)62.5%
2 Grantown-On-Spey (MPR)50.6% (FPR) 61.9%
3 Benbecula Island (MPR)46.7% (FPR)57.5%
4 Stranraer (MPR)60.3% (FPR)67.6%
5 Gairloch (MPR)66.7% (FPR)73.9%
6 Wick (MPR)58.7% (FPR)64.0%
7 Mallaig (MPR)75.0% (FPR)80.0%
8 Stornoway (MPR)63.2% (FPR)67.4%
9 Wellingborough (MPR)58.4% (FPR)62.1%
10 Trowbridge (MPR)47.6% (FPR)49.8%
11 Rothesay (MPR)71.2% (FPR)72.5%
=12 Newtown (MPR)55.7% (FPR)56.8%
=12 Camborne (MPR)50.1% (FPR)51.2%
14 Kyle of Lochalsh (MPR)71.9% (FPR)72.2%

( *MPR = Male Pass Rate *FPR = Female Pass Rate )

While pass rates for both genders have risen since 2007-08, the difference between male and female pass rates have stayed largely the same – the gap was 6% at the end of 2008, compared to 7% in 2016.

And although success rates for both men and women fall after several driving test attempts, the gap between them remained consistent; men are 7 percentage points higher than women when taking their first test, and 6 percentage points higher on their 6th attempt. The data can be found the blog of Veygo Learner Driving Insurance.

Jean-Baptiste Limare, Head of Veygo, said: “Countless statistics have shown that young women are less likely to be involved in crashes than young men, but are consistently passing less than their male counterparts – our Learn to Drive calculator gives the clearest picture of this disparity yet. This has a real impact in terms of time and cost – women are paying more to learn to drive.”

“Our map gives learners the opportunity to research the test centres with the best pass rates. If it is a viable option, they might consider doing their test somewhere with more favourable pass rates. Ultimately, there’s no better preparation than practice and you always find that learners who have plenty of experience in the area around their test centre are less likely to be surprised and more likely to shed their L-plates.

“The best advice is to supplement formal driving lessons with additional practice with friends and family members. This could also save you money as you may need to pay for fewer lessons.”

TV Presenter Jane Farnham, founder here at Cars4Girls.com, said that there isn’t anything inherently sexist or gender biased in the test, but that she was surprised by the difference between the two genders.

“I’m obviously biased, but I do think women are better drivers than men. Girls are generally more risk averse and less prone to red mist in a tricky situation – and this is backed up by industry insurance data and crash statistics which show that the actual risks are shown to be greater with men.

“I do think that there are ‘real life’ factors that are hard to cater for in a test.

“There are also more male examiners than female, so I think that could make some girls slightly less relaxed. I understand how pass rates may be lower in inner-city areas because the traffic can be harrowing enough to contend with, let alone when you’re next to the examiner.

“There’s nothing wrong with failing your test – I passed second time around and they say they are the best drivers!”

Further stats available at https://www.veygo.com/learner-drivers/revealed-uks-toughest-driving-test-centre/

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