Do learner drivers have an easy ride?

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JERSEY is one of the easiest places to pass your driving test in the British Isles, new figures indicate.

Despite a fall in pass rates for tests taken here last year, the Island remains well ahead of the average UK figure and local pass rates could rise again soon, according to one driving instructor.

Data from Driver and Vehicle Standards shows that the figure for passing a practical car test in Jersey was between 65.8% and 67.3% during the years from 2016 to 2020, but fell to 60.5% in 2021.

Meanwhile, provisional UK figures for the nine-month period ending 31 December 2021 showed an average of 49.6% practical tests were passed.

Steve Robertson, of Alphadrive, who has 40 years’ experience teaching learner drivers in Jersey, said the fall in last year’s pass rates matched what he had seen.

He said: ‘The rate did fall quite dramatically, which I think stemmed from there being a couple of stand-in examiners conducting tests here during the year and applying slightly different standards.’

Mr Robertson said that he believed the pass rate would head back towards previous levels in 2022 as new permanent examiners were recruited and settled in.

He added that the percentage of people passing their practical test would be higher if learners had more lessons prior to their test.

‘There’s no requirement for a set amount of hours on the road, as in many parts of Europe,’ he said. ‘There’s nothing stopping someone from booking a practical test as soon as they pass their theory test.

‘Parents who passed in the 1970s and 80s think the test is the same and expect their children to be able to pass easily, but the requirements have changed during that period, which is right because there’s a lot more traffic on the road and the standard that’s needed is higher.’

UK figures published by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority showed that some of the highest pass rates were in Dorchester, Yeovil and Abergavenny, which were in the mid-to-high 60% range, while the lowest pass rates last year included Speke, near Liverpool (35.2%), Birmingham Sutton Coldfield (35.1%) and Stoke-on-Trent (35.5%).

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