UK

Learner driver failed theory test 59 times before passing

A learner driver who failed the theory test 59 times before passing has been praised for their ‘amazing’ commitment (Alamy/PA)
A learner driver who failed the theory test 59 times before passing has been praised for their ‘amazing’ commitment (Alamy/PA) A learner driver who failed the theory test 59 times before passing has been praised for their ‘amazing’ commitment (Alamy/PA)

A learner driver who failed the theory test 59 times before passing has been praised for their “amazing” commitment.

The individual, who has not been named, spent £1,380 and around 60 hours on the process at a test centre in Redditch, Worcestershire, according to data obtained by AA Driving School and shared with the PA news agency.

That is more than anyone else in Britain, but several other learners also required dozens of attempts to pass.

They include someone who failed 57 times before passing in Hull, East Yorkshire; a person who clocked up 55 unsuccessful tests in Guildford, Surrey, and another who fell short of the required standard 53 times in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

The figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) relate to learner drivers who passed during the first half of 2023.

Camilla Benitz, managing director of AA Driving School – which has launched an app helping learners prepare for the test, said: “There’s no doubt it’s a tough test and these learners’ commitment to passing is amazing.

“But with the right tools, it really shouldn’t need to cost this much to be successful.

“Nerves can undoubtedly play a part, as well as making sure you understand what the test will involve before you get there.

“It’s quite easy to underestimate the theory test and assume that you’ll be able to pass without any effort at all but that’s not the case.

“Revision is the key to success. Apps like ours can really help.”

Department for Transport figures show the pass rate for theory tests has fallen from 65% in the 2007/08 financial year to 44% in 2022/23.

Learners must pass the theory test before they can book a practical driving test in the UK.

For those looking to get a licence to drive a car, each theory test attempt costs £23 and takes around an hour.

It consists of 50 multiple-choice questions testing candidates’ knowledge of the Highway Code and guidance on driving skills, for which at least 43 correct answers are required.

This is followed by a hazard perception test, which involves 14 video clips of driving situations.

It evaluates learners’ ability to anticipate potential dangers in a timely manner, with a pass mark of 44 out of 75.

People who fail the theory test must wait at least three working days before taking it again.

Those who pass must take a successful practical test within two years or they will need to complete the theory test again.

Several fraudsters have been prosecuted for impersonating other people to sit their theory tests.

Inderjeet Kaur, then aged 29, from Llanelli, was jailed for eight months at Swansea Crown Court in July last year after admitting taking approximately 150 theory and practical driving tests on behalf of learners.

In January 2020, Swallaxadin Abdul Bashir, then aged 42, from Coventry, was handed a 28-month prison sentence at Warwick Crown Court after admitting attempting to sit tests while impersonating applicants at 12 locations across England.

– Here are the highest number of failed attempts taken before people passed the theory test between January and June, with the total cost of the tests and the location of the test centre.

1. 60 attempts – £1,380 – Redditch, Worcestershire


2. 58 attempts – £1,334 – Hull, East Yorkshire


3. 56 attempts – £1,288 – Guildford, Surrey


4. 54 attempts – £1,242 – Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent


5. 52 attempts – £1,196 – Bristol


=6. 48 attempts – £1,104 – Birmingham


=6. 48 attempts – £1,104 – Chelmsford, Essex


=6. 48 attempts – £1,104 – Sidcup, London


=6. 48 attempts – £1,104 – Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands


10. 47 attempts – £1,081 – Taunton, Somerset