Driving test passes rise in Weston – but pass rate for girls remains lower than boys

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:12 22 August 2017

Neil Bayliss advanced driving instructor with reporter Ron Walker.

Neil Bayliss advanced driving instructor with reporter Ron Walker.


The number of people passing their driving test in Weston is on the rise, as the pass rate for men remains better than for women.

New statistics from the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency show there were 4,714 driving tests carried out from the test centre in Weston in 2016/17, and 2,536 people passed their test – 309 more people than in 2015/16.

The overall pass rate in Weston has gone up from 51.4 per cent in 2015/16 to 53.8 per cent in the past year. Nationally the pass rate now sits at 50.6 per cent.

This time last year Weston faced so much demand from learner drivers wanting to take their tests, there was an 18-week waiting list.

But driving instructor Neil Bayliss, of Weston and Mendip Advanced Motorists, told the Mercury the wait is now around average, at between four and five weeks.

He said there is not one overriding reason why more people are passing their tests, or why Weston is slightly above the national average, but added: “There are more people taking their tests now.

“I do think for some drivers Weston’s test routes tend to be a little less challenging than other routes, like those in Bristol for example.”

He also praised Weston’s drivers for their patience when sharing the road with learner drivers, or people taking their tests.

The statistics also show men have found it easier to pass their test, as the male pass rate sits at 56 per cent in the town compared to the female pass rate of 51.4 per cent.

But the pass rate for women is improving, it has risen by six per cent in the past year and 12.6 per cent since 2008/09, whereas the male pass rate has stayed relatively static – rising by just 1.4 per cent since 2008/09.

Mr Bayliss said: “I don’t know why the pass rate for boys is higher, but from a personal point of view I would much rather teach a girl than a boy.

“For most of the boys, really all they want to do is pass that test so they can go out with their mates, but with a lot of the girls they want to learn how to drive and how to control the car.

“They are also more aware I think of the dangers that come with being behind the wheel.”

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