New government proposals are suggesting that those who pass their driving test first time should be eligible for a refund on the cost of their test. The aim is to ensure drivers are fully prepared when taking the test, therefore bringing up the first time pass rate from its current figure of just 21%.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This change will give those who pass first time some money back and provide an incentive for learners to be more prepared before they take their first test.”
The current test price starts at £62, and the new suggestions intend for that charge to stand when the first test is failed. The proposal says: “There is anecdotal evidence that some learner drivers are booking a practical test date well in advance, at the start of their lessons, and then taking the test at that time whether or not they are ready”.
The RAC Foundation has also backed the plans, with Director, Steve Gooding, stating: “We support measures that will encourage learner drivers to get the experience they need to pass their test first time with flying colours, rather than barely scraping through or failing and having to repeat the process a few months down the road at yet more expense”.
As well as the suggestion for refunds for first time passers, the government is also being encouraged to consider widening the available time slots to include more evening and weekend times in order to cut down the current waiting times.
The proposals are part of a wider push to improve the efficiency of government motoring agencies. Transport Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad said: “These proposals are about modernising customer services and improving road safety, particularly for younger drivers”.
The consultation closes on 8 January and the department will respond later next year.