It is actually possible to fail your driving test in the UK.
I know, I know, hard to believe, isn\’t it? And I speak as someone who has twice taken a US test, once in Virginia, once in California (licences only last a few years, that\’s the reason for taking two, not that I failed one).
Where, in the first one, I was in an automatic, backed out of a nose to the wall parking space, got to the road and turned right. To the light, turn right, to the light, turn right, next light, right turn, and, would you believe it, right at the next light and right into the parking lot and parked nose against the wall.
And that was that, the whole practical test. No emergency stop, no left turn (recall, other side of the road, left is the difficult one), no parallel parking, certainly no reversing around a corner nor three point turn.
But here in Jolly England it\’s not quite that simple:
Nearly 300 would-be motorists took their driving test for the 10th time in the past year. Just 88 of them passed.
When it came to the 67 drivers who tried for the 12th time, 11 were successful. All eight people taking their 15th driving test failed.
The Driving Standards Agency’s figures for 2010-11 show that the traditional advice – “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” – does not ring true for some drivers. The pass rate falls the more times candidates sit their test.
It remained steady for the first three attempts, at between 46 to 47 per cent, before falling sharply. It stood at 44 per cent for the fourth attempt and 41 per cent at the fifth go. Just over a third of people taking their test for the sixth time were successful and for people who kept going it kept getting worse.
There was a 30 per cent pass rate at 10 attempts, 16 per cent at the 12th attempt and a 100 per cent failure rate at 15 attempts. Fourteen appeared to be a lucky number for some learner drivers, with a pass rate of 50 per cent.
As they say, there are some people who really just aren\’t cut out to drive cars.