NEARLY half of learner drivers who took their test at the Reading Test Centre last year passed first time, new figures reveal.

Hopeful students made 5,612 first attempts at passing their car driving test at Reading Test Centre in 2019-20, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency figures show.

Of those, 2,659 were successful first time around, which at a pass rate of 47 per cent, was on a par with the average of 46 per cent across Britain last year.

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But the likelihood of success varied widely from area to area.

Learners at the Arbroath Test Centre in Scotland held the best record, at 72 per cent, while only just over a quarter of those making a first attempt at the Pavilion Test Centre in Birmingham gained their licence at the first time of asking.

This excludes centres that recorded fewer than 100 first-attempt tests as the DVSA cautions against drawing conclusions from such low numbers.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said test centres in quieter locations may prove less challenging on the day than those in congested urban areas.

“Every driver knows that passing the test is only the first hurdle – the real challenge comes when a newly qualified driver has to take full responsibility themselves,” he said.

“Safely negotiate the first 1,000 miles after gaining your licence and the risk of having a crash drops sharply.”

Mr Gooding said data suggested that a decline in the number of young people holding a driving licence in recent years had begun to reverse.

He added: “With the challenges of Covid-related restrictions we could witness higher numbers of young people learning to drive because they see it as important to their employment prospects."

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Of the 5,612 first attempts made at Reading Test Centre, 107 drivers passed with no faults.

They were among 10,375 learners across Britain who passed on their first attempt without putting a foot wrong.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said pass rates can be affected by many factors before the test, including the number of lessons a learner takes, their level of experience and road layouts in the area.

The DVSA said the figures are based on driver licence numbers, so someone who has changed their licence number could be reported more than once in the data.