A common question that we get asked here at BIG TOM is whether it is easier to pass a driving test in an automatic rather than a manual car. Let’s take a deep dive into the current overall figures that have just been released by the DVSA and compare them specifically to automatic driving test pass rates in 2019 – 2020.

The following are official statistics that are widely available for free to the public. I have summarised the data that is relevant to the driving test centres where BIG TOM currently has a presence using the sources of DVSA0201(20-21ytd), 1202(19-20), 1204 (19-20).

Firstly, let’s look at the overall tests and pass rates given for 2020/2021, and you will see in some cases that there is precise timing given due to the lockdowns that occurred last year.
There have been 194,784 driving tests conducted so far in 2020-2021 and 97,946 test passes which give an overall pass rate of 50.3%. This is slightly increased on historical data which tended to have a pass rate of 45-50%. Whether this is due to increased effort due to the restricted availability is not clear, but given the fact that driving test slots have been harder to come by, it is a possible reason.

Looking at Boston driving test centre, between April and June 2020 there were 26 tests, and 17 passes giving a pass rate of 65%. In July 2020 there were 497 tests with 291 passes giving a 58.6% pass rate. Contrast that pass rate with the pass rate in automatics only for 2019-2020, which was 54%.

In the same time periods for Grantham, it was 21, 12 and 57% pass rate followed by 641, 380 and 59% pass rate. The automatic pass rate was just 47%.

Same again for Lincoln which had no data for the period of April to June 2020, but for July 2020 it was 684, 340 and 50% pass rate. The automatic pass rate is even less than Grantham at 41%.

Next up, Peterborough. 64, 40 and 63% pass rate, followed by 1447, 724 and 50% pass rate. Contrast those with the automatic pass rate of 41%, just like Lincoln.

Lastly, we have Melton Mowbray that only has September 2020 data provided of, 224, 125 and 56% pass rate. Comparing with an automatic pass rate of 66% which you will notice tends to go against the trend of the previous data.

Perhaps surprisingly, the data for driving test pass rates in an automatic suggest that a person stands more chance of passing in a manual.