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Driving test harder to pass for older Brits

A young versus an older driverLearn to drive when you're 17 if you want to pass first time: the older you get, the more attempts it will take, according to new research.

Drivers aged between 51 and 55 have the highest number of attempted driving tests with 40 per cent more tries than 17-year-olds.

The best age for first-time pass rates is 17 across both genders.

But even waiting just a few years before learning to drive can have a significant impact on potential success, the research suggests.

Driving test pass rate falls between ages of 17 & 50

Figures from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) reveal a 58 per cent pass rate for a 17-year-old boy, compared with just 47 per cent for 30-year-old men.

And by the age of 50 men have a pass rate of only 41 per cent.

Similarly, while a 17-year-old girl has a 55 per cent pass rate, by the age of 20 this falls to 44 per cent and aged 50 the pass rate for women stands at around 33 per cent.

Oldest driver on the road aged 106

At present, there is currently no upper age limit for holding a driving licence, and according to the research, in 2008 three 98-year-old females passed their test.

However, these are not the oldest drivers on UK roads - the oldest female to currently hold a driving licence is 106 and the oldest male is 105.

Men better at passing driving test first time

Regardless of age, women are less likely to pass their practical driving test first time around compared with men.

This year nearly half of male motorists - 48 per cent - who took their test passed first time, compared with 44 per cent of women.

And, on average, it takes women eight months to pass their practical driving test, compared with six months for men.

Men think they are better drivers than women

According to an exclusive poll by, 39 per cent of men believe they are better drivers than women.

While just a quarter - 26 per cent - of women believe themselves to be more competent drivers than their male counterparts.

Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at, said: "For years, people have argued over whether men or women are the best drivers.

"While this is still up for debate, men can now claim at least that they are the quickest learners when they get behind the wheel of the car."

Number of driving tests falling

New driver L platesWhile the driving test pass rate is increasing, the number of tests being taken is actually falling.

Nearly 170,000 fewer people took their test in 2013 compared with two years earlier.

However, overall pass rates have increased by 0.8 per cent.

So while fewer Brits are taking their driving test, more of those that do so are passing.

However, motorists are being advised not to rush into driving tests and should wait until they feel fully confident on the road before they make an attempt.

Give yourself time to pass driving test

Stanbury added: "Learning to drive is not a race - motorists should take their time and learn to drive carefully before taking their tests.

"The experience that comes with driving over time is invaluable in preventing accidents and making our roads a safer place for everyone."

In fact, more than two-thirds of motorists say they feel more confident now than they did when they first passed their driving test, according to's poll of 2,000 motorists.

"New drivers, regardless of age or gender, should be mindful of other road users and make sure responsible driving is their number-one priority," Stanbury said.

What do you think?

How old were you when you sat your driving test and how many attempts did it take to pass?

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Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus is a reporter at He started out writing for newspapers in Monmouthshire and Newport before moving to Italy to teach English. After four years in Sardinia he joined the team at

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