Men are in pole position when it comes to passing their driving test at Reading Test Centre, figures reveal.

But the AA says higher pass rates for male motorists do not mean they are safer behind the wheel, and that female drivers have fewer collisions in the months after they gain their licences.

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Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency show that 51% of practical tests taken by men at the centre in the year to June ended in success – compared to 43 per cent for women.

Across the period Reading Test Centre carried out 11,382 tests – 6,121 for women and 5,261 for men.

Overall, 46 per cent of the tests resulted in someone getting their licence – in line with Great Britain's average.

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Broken down by sex, the pass rate across Britain was 50 per cent for men and 43 per cent for women.

The EU banned car insurers from basing prices on gender in 2012, but studies suggest that men still pay more than women on average.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said that male and female pass rates should not be a consideration in insurance cost.

"Legally car insurance cannot take gender into account, so any disparity between prices offered to men and women would be because of other factors – such as where they park their cars, which postcode they live in, what car they drive, how much they drive and any current convictions or accident record," he added.

"The difference in the pass rate for men and women is a long-term trend and is not a reflection on the safety of those who have passed their driving test.

"In fact, females have fewer collisions in the first six months of passing."

The car insurance comparison site said a recent analysis of its price index showed that men are paying £84 more for their car insurance than women on average.

Amanda Stretton, the company’s motoring editor, said: "This could be down to the fact that they are almost four times more likely to commit a motoring offence, and twice as likely to make a claim compared to women.

"While data shows that men are more likely to pass their driving test, and have a higher first-time pass rate, our research proves that women are in fact ‘better’ drivers."