Why are more people not passing their driving test in Bury St Edmunds?
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Taking a driving test has got to be one of the most stressful exams you can face in your life.
But how many of us manage to keep our nerves under control and make it back to the test centre with a pass?
In Bury St Edmunds, with it Medieval grid and one-way systems, only 42.5% achieved a pass - just lower than the national average of 45.8% - from April to September 2018.
The new statistics from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), also show men fared better than women, with 45% gaining a pass compared to 40% of female learner drivers.
In Ipswich 60.6% of those who took their test were successful, so why is it seemingly harder to get a driving licence in Bury St Edmunds?
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Tim Rice, a driving instructor in Bury St Edmunds for 13 years, said: “Bury has a lot of trickier junctions than other towns where you need to know what you are doing.
“The other reason why the pass rates are quite low is people try to teach themselves through family members and you just cannot do that in Bury St Edmunds because of the tricky junctions, the Parkway dual carriageway and differing speeds.”
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Mr Rice added cars parked along roads and faded road markings also made passing at the local test centre that bit harder.
Ray Giles, of Ray’s Driving School, also in Bury, agreed the market town could be a struggle for learners, adding “it’s a very busy town” with “junction after junction very quickly”. Bury instructor Mike Pipe added: “The examiners say Bury is very compact.”
Nationally, learner drivers fared the worst in Birmingham at the Pavilion test centre, which saw a pass rate of only 29.4%.
In Cambridge the pass rate was higher than the national average at 52.6%.
DVSA chief driving examiner Mark Winn said: “DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving. All candidates are assessed to the same level and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day.”
“It’s essential that all drivers demonstrate they have the right skills, knowledge and attitude to drive safely. The driver testing and training regime tests candidates’ ability to drive safely and responsibly as well as making sure they know the theory behind safe driving.”