Hartlepool driving test pass rate rockets
The driving test pass rate in Hartlepool hit a record level during the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show – although far fewer tests took place.
Quieter roads and "incredibly motivated" key workers taking their tests are thought to be behind the rate also hitting a record high nationally in 2020-21.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency data shows that, of 890 practical tests at Hartlepool Test Centre in 2020-21, 510 (57%) ended in success – up from 54% the previous year and the highest rate since comparable records began in 2007-08.
In all 320 out of 557 people passed on the first attempt. At 57% this was well above the national average of 51%.
Far fewer tests were undertaken as only key workers were permitted to take them during the enforced lockdowns – 890 in 2020-21, compared to 5,018 in 2019-20.
Nationally a record 50% of tests in 2020-21 resulted in a pass but the number of tests dropped to 437,000 – down from 1.6 million the previous year.
Robert Cowell, interim managing director of AA Driving School, said: “Tests were only allowed for key workers who needed to drive for their job and this probably also goes some way to explaining the higher pass rate as the candidates would have been incredibly motivated to pass."
Mr Cowell said that demand for driving tests is now "sky-high" – with learners facing a waiting time of more than three months to book one.
Loveday Ryder, DVSA chief executive, said: "All candidates are assessed to the same level and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day."