5 Facts About The UK Driving Test You Never Knew – Part One

First there’s the theory test, then the practical exam, then applying for your licence until finally you get a car and you can start driving, ‘for real’.

The route to earning a UK driving licence is a costly, sometimes frustrating and very time-consuming path. But every year, thousands of candidates start the journey, which begins with the theory exam. But, did you know? It wasn’t always like this!!!

Here are the first five most interesting facts about the practical driving exam you probably never knew:

1. Did you know? The first nation to enforce a driving test was France. It began in 1893, introduced alongside vehicle registration plates and parking restrictions.”

The first British person to successfully complete a driving test was a woman. Vera Hedges Butler passed in 1900, and she went all the way to Paris to take it because they had not started in the UK.

2. The cost of the test started out at 37.5p. Today, you pay £31 for the theory and £62 for the practical exam, totalling a whopping £93. It also costs £50 to get a provisional licence just so you can take the theory test and practical exam. However, it costs nothing to convert a provisional licence to a full licence.

3. Back in 1935, theory or driving test centres did not exist. Candidates would have to arrange a meeting point with their examiner in order to take a test. They would often meet at a local landmark such as a town hall or transport hub.

4. In 1935 the driving test pass rate was an impressive 60%. As it evolved, pass rate numbers declined, with the average UK pass rate now just 46%. However, there are substantial differences between some centres. For instance, the Wanstead centre in London has a pass rate of just 30%. By comparison, Stonehaven in Scotland has a pass rate of 68%.

Putting the above figures into perspective though, far more people take a test at the Wanstead centre than the Stonehaven centre. Driving conditions in urban areas, like London, are also more challenging than the rural setting of Stonehaven, hence the low pass rate in Wanstead.”

5. During World War Two, driving tests were suspended completely and did not begin again until November 1946, mainly due to the time it took to rebuild road networks damaged during the war. Furthermore, during the Suez Crisis, they were halted again between November 1956 and April 1957.