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Third-time lucky passers make the ‘safest drivers’

Press release: 27/11/2015

  • Third-time passers least likely to be involved in collisions, bumps or scrapes
  • 'Overly confident' first-time passers are the most likely to be involved in an accident
  • Those who take their driving test multiple times are less likely to be caught drink driving or driving dangerously
  • Findings support the Department for Transport's call for motorists to only book their practical test when they're 'ready'

Despite the common belief, those who pass their test first time are not the safest drivers.

The study from LV= car insurance looked at the driving records of those who passed after one, two, three or four+ driving tests and uncovered a connection between the number of times you take your practical driving test and the likelihood of your being involved in an incident such as a collision or being caught driving dangerously.

The research found that those who pass on their first attempt are arguably the 'worst drivers', being the most likely to be involved in an accident or collision [1]. This is thought to be down to over-confidence — with these drivers exhibiting the highest level of self-assurance in their driving ability and more likely to describe their driving as 'perfect'.

In contrast, it seems that it's third-time lucky when it comes to passing your test, with third-time passers the least likely to be involved in an accident or to bump/scrape their or another's vehicle. In stark contrast to those who pass first time, third-time passers are also more likely to describe their approach to driving as 'safe' and 'cautious'.

In fact, those who fail their first test say it was largely down to nerves and lack of confidence, which while temporarily denying them a licence, ironically means they may be safer once they do pass. The majority[2] of those who fail first time agree, with close to a third (32%) saying it made them more careful on the road, while 29% learned from the mistakes they made — and a similar proportion (27%) felt they became more skilled with the extra practice.

The findings of LV='s study echo the sentiment behind recent changes to the practical driving test proposed by the Department for Transport (DfT), which is calling for learner drivers to wait to book their test until they are 'road ready'[3].

The findings also show a link between the number of times a driver takes their practical test and a reduced likelihood of displaying bad driving behaviours. Those who take multiple tests are significantly less likely to be pulled over for driving dangerously, drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs [see notes to editors].

Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director of LV= car insurance, comments: "Are first time passers confident because they pass first time? Or did they pass first time because they're confident? Either way, it seems that those who pass on their first attempt may be more rash once they take to the road.

"So if you fail your first time, you could take comfort in the fact that your natural nervousness or caution will serve you well once you get a licence.

"But what this study underlines is that no matter how good a driver you are, care and attention behind the wheel is the most important factor if you want to avoid any incidents and stay safe."

For further details, log on to www.lv.com.


For further information please contact:

Nicola Hussey, nicola.hussey@lv.com, 020 8253 5238 / 07468 761 128


Notes to editors:

Censuswide conducted omnibus research on behalf of LV= car insurance among 2,004 motorists, of whom 53% had taken their practical driving test more than once. This research was conducted between 6 and 11 November 2015. The survey was conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to represent the profile of all adults.

The cohorts of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4+ time passers were then asked to recount how many of the following incidences they have been involved in where they were at fault: accidents or collisions, bumps or scrapes, issued speeding ticket(s), pulled over by police for dangerous driving (i.e. running red light etc.) or being pulled over for drink/drug driving.

The research revealed three trends. It showed that there was a connection between the number of times a driver takes their driving test and the likelihood that they would be involved in an accident or collision (R2 value = 0.68) — drivers who passed first time were most likely to be involved in an accident or collision, and the number of accidents/likelihood of being involved in an accident fell the more tests they took. The findings also showed a relationship between the number of times a driver took their practical driving test and the likelihood of them bumping or scraping their car (R2 value = 0.91) — again, those who passed first time were the most likely to do this and the number and likelihood of bumps/scrapes fell the more tests they took. And finally, the data revealed that those who take multiple driving tests (defined as 3 or 4+) are significantly less likely to be pulled over for dangerous driving (e.g. driving through a red light), drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs [see below].

1 to 2 practical driving tests

3 to 4+ practical driving tests

Percentage of drivers who have been pulled over for dangerous driving (e.g. running a red light)

19%

16%

Mean number of times each driver has been pulled over for dangerous driving

0.53

0.36

Percentage of drivers who have been pulled over for drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs

18%

9%

Mean number of times each driver has been pulled over for drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs

0.53

0.29

The research sample contained motorists of an assortment of ages, and despite common belief that the practical test has become easier, when looking at older age groups, the proportion who passed first, second, third and fourth+ times was very similar to younger groups (see below).

Number of practical driving tests taken before passing

17-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55+

1

48%

45%

45%

51%

48%

2

40%

35%

32%

29%

32%

3

12%

16%

15%

17%

16%

4+

3%

4%

7%

3%

4%


LV=

LV= employs 6,000 people and serves over 5.7 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.


[1] Source: Censuswide. Respondents were asked if they had been involved in an accident or collision since passing their practical driving test. The results show those who passed first time were the most likely to have been involved in an accident or collision.

[2] Source: Censuswide. 66% agree that having to take their practical driving test more than once made them a better driver.

[3] Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a-driving-test-fit-for-the-21st-century