The number of learner drivers passing car theory tests has plummeted to its lowest level in more than a decade.
It comes as the test was made more difficult for learner drivers, with results showing that only 47 per cent of would-be-motorists having managed to pass the test over the past 12 months.
Statistics from the Department of Transport (DfT) showed that women are more likely to pass the test than men.
Over the last decade, there have been a whole host of reforms in order to toughen up the test which was introduced as a separate part of the test in 1977.
The theory test has got more difficult for people to pass and the Department of Transport said women are more likely to pass than men
The changes include the number of multiple choice questions and stopping their publication in advance online, in order to stop people memorising them beforehand.
Hazard perception questions were also introduced in order to test reactions to various scenarios.
In September 2007 the number of multiple choice questions was increased from 35 to 50, this is while in 2009 a ‘case study’ was introduced, with five questions relating to a specific scenario.
In 2012 questions ceased being published online in order to stop people memorising the answers.
Could you pass the test today? Here are some real example questions
Question one: Why should you allow extra room when overtaking a motorcyclist on a windy day?
a. The rider may turn off suddenly to get out of the wind
b. The rider may stop suddenly
c. The rider may be blown across in front of you
d. The rider may be travelling faster than normal
Question two: You’re carrying an 11-year-old child in the back seat of your car. They’re under 1.35 metres (4 feet 5 inches) tall. What must you make sure of?
a. That they can see clearly out of the front window
b. That a suitable child restraint is available
c. That they sit between two belted people
d. That they can fasten their own seatbelt
Question three: What should you do when you leave your car unattended for a few minutes?
a. Lock it and remove the key
b. Leave the engine running
c. Switch the engine off but leave the key in
d. Park near a traffic warden
Question four: You’re driving on the motorway in windy conditions. What should you do as you pass a high-sided vehicle?
a. Increase your speed
b. Be wary of a sudden gust
c. Expect normal conditions
d. Drive alongside very closely
Question five: You intend to turn left from a main road into a minor road. What should you do as you approach it?
a. Keep just left of the middle of the road
b. Keep well to the left of the road
c. Keep in the middle of the road
d. Swing out to the right just before turning
To take a full practice test click here
Answers: One (c), Two, (b) Three (a), Four(b), Five (b)
A year after the question bank was then refreshed, meaning few real-life questions remained in publication. Then in 2014, interpreters were also banned.
According the The Times, The AA said that some of the questions boarded on ‘obscure’ which made it hard for many to pass first time.
Price comparison website Moneysupermarket compiled a study which showed that just four in ten drivers were confident they could pass the theory test if they took it again.
It subjected 2,800 drivers to eight sample questions, with only a tenth of participants selecting the right answers.
This is while only a third of drivers were able to identify the colour of the reflective studs between the motorway and slip road, which are green.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said that some people assume you can pass the theory test with a few lessons and a bit of common sense but you can’t.
‘Some of the questions are actually quite obscure. The test is obviously very necessary but perhaps part of it could be a bit more mainstream and relevant to the reality of driving.’
As part of the test, learner drivers are asked 50 multiple choice questions and need to answer 43 correctly in order to pass.
For the hazard perception part they need to get 44 out of 75.
Learners must pass the theory test before sitting the practical exam.
The DfT states that about 1.34 million learner drivers have sat the theory test over the past year, with 47.4 per cent passing.
Figures for 2017-2018 show this was down for 48.7 per cent, the lowest proportion since 2007-08.
Across 2007-08 the pass rate stood at 65.4 per cent, in 2013-14 after new theory questions stopped being released online.
Last year the pass rate dropped as low as 45.7 per cent for men, and 49.2 per cent for women.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s chief driving examiner, Mark Winn said: ‘DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving. Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world but all road users must make sure their skills and knowledge are up to date. The highway code is essential reading for all road users, not just those who are learning.’