DVSA figures reveal gender differences in test pass rates, but men still involved in more accidents.
Men are more likely than women to pass the practical driving test first time raising concerns of poor implementation or bias. For 2014/15, UK Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) figures confirmed the pass rate for
For 2014/15, UK Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) figures confirmed the pass rate for 17-year-old men was 56.6% - compared to 53% of women (+3.6%).
This trend related to older candidates too. The 30-year-old male pass rate was 47.6% whereas only 38.1% of women were successful (+9.5%).
Furthermore, 45.3% of 40-year-old men passed the practical test first time compared to 36% of women (+9.3%). Pass rates for 50/60-year-old drivers differed widely too.
Angela Clarke, 35, who passed 3rd time when she was 18, said there must be something wrong with the test.
She told The Guardian: "There's no other way there could be such a bias towards one gender passing. The casual sexism that women are worse drivers than men is pretty prevalent."
She added: "If you look at the laddish approach of shows such as Top Gear, you have to recognise that it's part of our culture."
Men 'more likely' to push their car
Frances Robinson, a 34 year old from London who will sit her 3rd test in December 2015, said: "I find the whole thing artificial. What was weird for me was that the first time I was failed for being too aggressive and the second for being too timid."
She added: "It’s very stressful. I’ll be angry, though, if I find out I’ve been properly discriminated against. I know I can drive: I’ve had 30 hours of lessons and it’s not an insignificant amount of money I’ve thrown at this."
An Automobile Association (AA) spokesperson claimed that to conclude there is something wrong with the practical driving test might be a reasonable observation.
He argued: "Young men tend to deal with the mechanics of driving extremely well, but as soon as they have passed the test they are more likely to push the car. Women seem to have a better appreciation of risk than young men do.”
'Barriers' preventing fairness
A Women’s Equality Party spokesperson said: “Driving is a way that women can designate their independence and we know that, once qualified, women drive much more safely than men."
They continued: "It is of real concern that there are barriers in the way of women having a fair chance of passing their test."
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency said that motorists pass or fail based only on their performance.
“All candidates are assessed to the same standard - whether male or female - and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day."
Majority of driving examiners are men
However, DVSA figures show women perform better than men at the theory test though, with 54% of females passing at any attempt compared to 48% of males.
The research also shows that 1,395 (78.5%) of the driving test examiners in England and Wales are men, while just 381 (21.5%) are women.
The 2014 statistics also show that 113,066 male drivers were involved in accidents in compared with 69,245 female drivers. Accidents involving young men 'tend to be more catastrophic and to involve other people', the AA said.