Study shows 60% of experienced drivers would fail theory test

They say experience is everything, but a new study commissioned by one of the UK’s leading driving instructor insurance cover companies claims over two thirds of experienced drivers would meet with failure if they took their theory test today.

More than a third of participants, somewhere in the region of 34%, failed to correctly identify the hazards during the perception portion of the test, while more than half failed to score the necessary pass mark when presented with the multiple choice questions. As anyone who’s taken their test recently can attest, candidates must pass both sections in order to be given a passing grade.

The study aimed to highlight the importance of keeping your knowledge of the road up-to-date, suggesting that motorists should attend a refresher course every few years to keep their motoring skills in tip-top shape. An additional study found that over half of the motorists on UK roads feel the same, believing that tests, undertaken every few years, should be compulsory.

They agreed that the test should be taken once every ten years, although 8% of participants believed once in every five years was more suitable.

Incredibly, and not a little worryingly, only 15% of drivers who took part in the insurance study felt themselves to be completely road-literate, admitting that they couldn’t understand many of the signs they encounter while puttering up and down the UK’s many highways and byways.

A prominent figure within the motor trade insurance industry commented: “An inability to read the road properly often leads to hesitant and unsafe driving behaviours, so we’d urge all road users to regularly brush up on their knowledge of road signs and regulation, as these are frequently updated.”

More reassuringly, a higher percentage of experienced drivers were able to pass hazard perception element of the test, suggesting that while their knowledge of driving regulations and road signs have faded over the years, their many years behind the wheel have equipped them with the skills to identify hazards, as well as invaluable road experience.

The theory test is regularly updated, but it remains to be seen if the study’s findings will have any effect on future versions of the test.