Pass rate for people taking driving test just over 50%
● Learners spend up to €1,000 in the course of a year before taking test
Just over half of the people who sit for a driving test each year actually pass and get a driving licence, data obtained from Transport Malta and Parliament shows. The average number of people who successfully sat for a driving test since 2010 was 53 per cent.
Between 2010 and 2016 an average of 12,731 people sat for the test each year but only an average of 6,792 people passed.
Transport Malta provided us with the number of first time passes between 2010 and October 2016 but was unable to give us the number of people who sat for the driving test for the first time each year. This meant that we could not calculate the success rate of people who sat for the test for the first time.
However, the data shows, as expected, that the largest group of people sitting for the driving test is made up of 18 and 19-year-olds. 5,506 people aged 18 and 19 sat for the test in 2015 while 5,053 people in the same age bracket sat for the test the following year.
The numbers of people taking the test include foreigners, repeat test-takers and individuals who sat for the test after they lost their licence over numerous contraventions.
In the meantime, several people who spoke to this newspaper expressed concern about the low pass rate. Although on the one hand this could mean that matters are taken seriously, on the other hand a low success rate means more money for Transport Malta and also for the driving instructors.
Would-be drivers first have to pay €23.25 to Transport Malta to obtain a learning permit. Fortyfive minute lessons cost anywhere between €14 and €20. Before sitting for the practical driving test students have to sit for a theory test, which costs €30.
The actual driving test costs another €23.25. There is no limit to the number of times the test can be taken and the amount Transport Malta collects in fees remains the same. However, driving schools charge between €70 and €80 to apply for a driving test. This means that when they pass on the €23 to TM, they pocket the rest.
A number of youths and parents who spoke to this newspaper said it seemed that learners were being made to attend numerous lessons before being allowed to take the test. It is the driving instructor/school that decides when a student is ready to sit for the driving test. Some people told us it is very common nowadays for students to practise for more than a year before being allowed to sit for the test. This means that they can easily spend more than €1,000 in the run-up to the test.
According to 2014 information, there are some 157 driving schools and 362 driving instructors in Malta.
In the meantime, the number of people taking driving tests is likely to increase as the government is proposing to extend the penalty points system – which is currently limited only to the first three years of driving – to all drivers on the road. Drivers who receive more than 12 points in a year will lose their licence but will not have to retake the test. However, those who lose their licence for the second time in three years will have to retake the test.