Driving test: Gender gap for pass rates in Kirkcaldy narrows, data reveals

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The gap between male and female driving test pass rates has narrowed in Kirkcaldy during the coronavirus pandemic, figures suggest.

The RAC said it is encouraging to see the gender gap shrinking nationally, but warned "time will tell" if the trend continues as driving test numbers recover following Covid-related disruption.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency data shows that of 560 tests taken by male drivers at Kirkcaldy Test Centre in the first quarter of 2021-22, 298 were successful – a pass rate of 53%.

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Meanwhile, 51% of 498 tests taken by women were passed over this period, giving a gap of just two percentage points.

The gender gap for pass rates is shrinkingThe gender gap for pass rates is shrinking
The gender gap for pass rates is shrinking

Only two months of figures for Kirkcaldy were available between April and June of this year, and none were during this period in 2020, when tests were cancelled due to lockdown restrictions.

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Women had a success rate of 50% during the same period in 2019 – compared to 56% for men, meaning there was a gap of six percentage points between the genders.

In the first quarter of 2018-19, the gap was 10 percentage points.

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Across the UK, 49.2% of tests taken by women between April and June were passed – a higher proportion than during any similar period on record, and up from 47.1% in 2020-21 as a whole.

Though the male success rate also rose, the gap between the two genders (4.7 percentage points) is now the closest it has ever been – previously peaking at 7.3 in 2018.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “The impact of the pandemic means we’re in unusual times when it comes to driving tests, not least because there’s an enormous backlog of drivers waiting to take tests and get out on the road.

"While it’s encouraging that the gender driving test pass ‘gap’ appears to be closing, only time will tell whether this is a trend that continues as the number of people taking tests starts to return to normal.”

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Of the five months of available figures for Kirkcaldy between July and December 2020, women had a pass rate of 49%, while men passed 54% of tests.

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