Stoke-on-Trent is one of the hardest places to pass your driving test


Stoke-on-Trent is one of the toughest places in the country to pass your driving test.

Figures released by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency show that more learner drivers fail their test at Cobridge Driving Test Centre than anywhere else in Staffordshire.

In fact, it is the eighth hardest place in the entire country to pass your test.

Only centres in London, Birmingham and Wolverhampton – as well as one in nearby Crewe – have a lower pass rate.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, a total of 1,455 tests were conducted at Cobridge – but only 551 learner drivers achieved a pass (37.9 per cent).

Female drivers fared particularly badly at Cobridge, with just 275 of 753 women who took a test succeeding in passing (28.5 per cent).

It is also the toughest driving centre in Staffordshire for men to pass a test, with only 276 of 702 male drivers able to pass (39.3 per cent).



Stoke-on-Trent is one of the hardest places in the country to pass a driving test

Learner drivers have a better chance of passing at nearby Newcastle. Out of a total of 1,437 tests conducted, there were 640 passes – a pass rate of 44.5 per cent.

Figures show 43.9 per cent of female drivers, and 45.2 per cent of male drivers successfully passed their test at Newcastle.

Stafford has an even higher pass rate. Overall, one in two drivers taking a test at this centre achieved a pass (49.1 per cent). That includes 46.6 per cent of female drivers and 51.5 per cent of male drivers.

Overall, there were 7,061 driving tests conducted in Staffordshire in 2020/21. Of those 3,354 resulted in a pass.

That means almost one in two learner drivers (47.5 per cent) taking a test in Staffordshire last year were able to rip off the “L” plates from their car.

The figures show that overall, Staffordshire men (49.8 per cent) had a higher pass rate than women (45.4 per cent).

The numbers of tests conducted in 2020/21 was far below previous years because of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

Only a handful of tests were conducted between April and June 2020, and none at all between January and March.

During the previous year there were a total of 25,836 tests conducted in Staffordshire and 11,489 passes – a pass rate of 44.5 per cent.

Half of all drivers taking their test across the UK succeeded in achieving a pass in 2020/21 (49.8 per cent).

Of a total of 436,044 tests conducted, 217,031 resulted in a pass.



Cobridge driving test centre
Cobridge driving test centre

The previous year there were more than three times as many tests conducted.

Of a total of 1.6 million tests, 734,600 drivers were told they had passed – an overall pass rate of 45.9 per cent.

A breakdown of the most recent data shows that 52.5 per cent of male drivers and 47.1 per cent of female drivers passed their test.

While Erith Driving Test Centre in London had an overall pass rate of just 31.4 per cent, the lowest of any centre in Britain; Fraserburgh Driving Test Centre, in Scotland, had the highest ratio of successful drivers of any centre which conducted at least 100 tests in 2020/21.

Of 114 drivers who took their test in the Aberdeenshire fishing port, 94 passed – a pass rate of 82.5 per cent.

The data shows that the test centres with highest pass rates are almost always in remote corners of Scotland.

In contrast, the centres with the lowest pass rates are usually in major cities.

That is probably because roads are likely to be busier, presenting more challenges to learner drivers – and more opportunities to fail.

Staffordshire stats

Driving test centre // male driving tests conducted // passes // pass rate (%) // female driving tests conducted // passes // pass rate (%) // total driving tests conducted // passes // pass rate (%)

Stoke-on-Trent (Cobridge) // 702 // 276 // 39.3 // 753 // 275 // 36.5 // 1455 // 551 // 37.9

Newcastle-Under-Lyme) // 699 // 316 // 45.2 // 736 // 323 // 43.9 // 1437 // 640 // 44.5

Stafford // 324 // 167 // 51.5 // 309 // 144 // 46.6 // 633 // 311 // 49.1

Lichfield // 878 // 473 // 53.9 // 1079 // 546 // 50.6 // 1957 // 1019 // 52.1

Burton-on-Trent // 757 // 442 // 58.4 // 822 // 391 // 47.6 // 1579 // 833 // 52.8

Total // 3360 // 1674 // 49.8 // 3699 // 1679 // 45.4 // 7061 // 3354 // 47.5



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