Poll: Woman spent £1,600 on driving tests before finally passing... on her 26TH attempt

A woman finally passed her driving test - after failing 25 times.

A woman finally passed her driving test - after failing 25 times. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A WOMAN forked out more than £1,600 in driving test fees before finally making it on to Suffolk’s roads – after passing her driving test on her 26th attempt.

Figures have revealed the unnamed woman eventually cracked her practical car test at the Bury St Edmunds test centre after failing on 25 previous occasions.

A man in the Ipswich area was not far behind, passing on his 22nd attempt at the town’s test centre, while another woman was third on the list after passing on her 21st attempt, also in Ipswich.

The figures date from to April 1, 2004 to December 31, 2012.

“Failing 25 times before you pass is not the norm and you may need to consider whether driving is for you,” Ipswich British School of Motoring (BSM) driving instructor David Stanways said.


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“Is that person safe on the roads? Hand on heart, I don’t know. But that person has passed the test at the end of the day. The examiner would have known this woman’s previous record and they don’t turn a blind eye to anything. The test is very rigorous.”

Meanwhile, one 27-year-old man is drawing up plans to finally conquer the theory test after failing it 31 times – the latest of which in Ipswich.

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He has so far spent £961 attempting to pass, with each failure leaving him another £31 out of pocket.

A practical test costs £62, meaning the 46-year-old woman racked up £1,612 in exam costs after finally passing on her 26th attempt.

Government guidelines advise learner drivers to experience 45 hours of professional training – along with 22 hours of private practice – before tackling the test.

Richard Paine, driving instructor at the Bury St Edmunds Driving School, suggested the main reason behind exam failures was competent learners suffering from crippling test nerves. “People will remember Maureen Rees – of BBC’s Driving School programme – who passed on her seventh attempt and may be surprised to see someone took 26 attempts to pass,” he said.

“But I’ve had good, confident learners who have completely fallen apart unexpectedly in exams. I would say that accounts for 65-70% of failures.

“There is a big element of luck. You could be very lucky and have a nice run through clear roads that aren’t busy with no hassle at all.

“But you could be unlucky and get a particularly harsh examiner who could easily fail you. You might forget to check your mirrors before turning and they would fail you for that.”

The figures, released under Freedom of Information laws, also revealed a 43-year-old female has failed her test a total of 17 times, the latest being in Ipswich, and was still waiting to pass at the end of 2012.

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