Belfast Telegraph

Driving Test applications continue to fall

Stormont Executive press release - Department of the Environment

The latest Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) Compendium of Key Statistics for Quarter one, April to June 2013, has been published today.

The figures show that 11,299 learner car drivers applied to take their practical driving test from April to June 2013. This represents a decrease of approximately 9% on the corresponding quarter for 2012 when 12,388 applications were received.

However, despite this decline in numbers, all major test categories, with the exception of the Motorcycle L test, have seen increases in pass rates when comparing Quarter one 2012 with Quarter one 2013. The pass rate for private car learner drivers was up nearly two percentage points from April to June 2012 to stand at 55.7% for April to June 2013. This is still some way below the pass rate for Motorcycle Learner tests, which was 67.8% for April to June 2013.

Over 268,000 vehicle ‘MOT’ tests (including both full tests and retests) were carried out by DVA during the period April to June 2013, up by 2.5% compared to the corresponding quarter in 2012. Almost four in every five of these ‘MOT’ tests (79.7%) resulted in a ‘pass’.

The Agency also performed more than 364,000 vehicle relicensing transactions during the period, an increase of 4.3% on the same quarter in 2012. Over 27,500 (provisional) vehicles were registered for the first time in Northern Ireland during April, May and June 2013, representing an increase of 13.3% on the same period in 2013. This increase may, in part, be a sign of an improvement in economic conditions after a downturn in recent years.

The key points from the Driver & Vehicle Agency Compendium of Key Statistics Quarter one, April to June 2013 are:

· During Quarter one, April to June 2013, the DVA received nearly 232,000 vehicle full test applications, and conducted full tests for over 223,000 vehicles. Vehicle full test applications and conducted full tests were higher by 3.8% and 2.9% respectively than in the corresponding quarter of 2012, where the number of applications stood at 223,000 and 217,000 respectively.

· In contrast to vehicle testing, there has been a reduction in the number of driving tests conducted compared with the same quarter in 2012. In April to June 2013, over 12,500 Driving Tests were conducted by DVA; this is 10.6% lower than during the same period of 2012, when there were nearly 14,000 tests conducted. However, the pass rate for all categories of tests, with the exception of Motorcycle L tests, has increased between Quarter one 2012/13 and Quarter one 2013/14. The overall pass rate of 57.8% in the latest quarter is 1.5 percentage points higher than April to June 2012.

· In Quarter one 2013/14, over 15,000 applications for Theory tests were received by DVA, an increase of more than 1,600 (12.2%) compared with the same period in 2012 when approximately 13,500 applications were received. This is reflected in the number of tests conducted during Quarter one 2013/14 (13,274) which increased by over 1,200 or 10.1% when compared with the same quarter in 2012/13 (12,061). For Private Cars, which has by far the largest volumes, there has been a marked decline in pass rates from 60.4% in April to June 2012 to 50.7% in April to June 2013.

· Vehicles registered for the first time in Northern Ireland increased by 13.3% when comparing Quarter one 2012/13 (24,306) to Quarter one 2013/14 (27,546 provisional). Relicensing transactions compared across the same two quarters showed a 4.3% rise, with over 364,000 transactions being conducted in April to June 2013 compared to over 349,000 transactions in April to June 2012.

· During April to June 2013, the DVA inspected in excess of 1,400 vehicles on both targeted operations and during random checks. As a result of these, 304 fixed penalty notices were issued to drivers at the roadside, with resultant fines totalling over £29,000.

· 320 full Taxi Operator Licences were issued by DVA during April, June and July 2013.

· From April to June 2013, 13,216 driving test applications were submitted to the DVA. This marks a reduction of 8.6% in applications compared with the same quarter in 2012 where the number of driving test applications was 14,460.

· The pass rate for Private Car L tests was 55.7%, ranging by Test Centres from 44.5% in Altnagelvin to 69.2% in the Omagh. However, this overall pass rate takes no account of differences between the driving experience of individuals presenting for testing at each Test Centre.

· In Northern Ireland, using a four quarter rolling average, the pass rate by gender for Car L driving tests showed that Males had a higher pass rate (61%) than Females (51%).

· At the 30th June 2013, there were just over 1,048,700 Full Licence Holders with Private Cars/Light Vans Entitlement, this is an increase of over 4,300 from 4th April 2013, less than a 1% increase overall. On the same date there were 107,549 Provisional Licence Holders, this is a decrease of over 500 from 4th April 2013, less than a 1% decrease overall.

· The number of Heavy Goods Vehicles inspected for the period April to June 2013 (776) was 41.3% higher than the number inspected during April to June 2012 (549).

Notes to editors:

1. This is the latest quarterly edition of the Driver & Vehicle Agency Compendium of Key Statistics relating to April to June 2013. The report is written and issued by Analytical Services Branch in the Department of the Environment (DOE).

2. The figures are derived mainly from administrative sources held within DVA, together with the results of surveys carried out for DVA by Analytical Services Branch, DOE.

3. The DVA Compendium of Key Statistics is published every quarter at pre-announced release dates, which are available from the DOE website at:

4. Electronic copies of the ‘Driver & Vehicle Agency Compendium of Key Statistics Quarter one, April to June 2013’ are available at:

Should this format not be suitable for your needs, hard copies are available free of charge from:

Analytical Services Branch (DVA), DVA Statistics, Belfast Test Centre, 66 Balmoral Road, Malone Lower, Belfast BT12 6QL

Telephone: (028) 9054 7934 E-mail: website:

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