Lo­ca­tion makes an L of a dif­fer­ence

As driv­ing test is given a re­vamp, we re­veal the top places to pass with fly­ing colours

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - MOTORING - By Sally McDon­ald sm­c­don­ald@sun­day­post.com

it’s a rite of pas­sage which ev­ery young driver be­gins pre­par­ing for the sec­ond they turn 17.

The feel­ing of free­dom which ac­com­pa­nies the mo­ment they can throw away the L-plates and head out on the open road, un­su­per­vised by mum, dad or a pro­fes­sional in­struc­tor.

How­ever, things just might be about to get tougher for Scot­land’s learner mo­torists.

A re­vamped prac­ti­cal test will be in­tro­duced later this year, to bet­ter re­flect the de­mands of modern roads.

Among other changes, driv­ers will be as­sessed on their abil­ity to fol­low Sat Nav in­struc­tions.

But, ahead of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the changes in December, does where you sit your test – for ex­am­ple, in a small ru­ral town or a bustling city – make a dif­fer­ence to your chances of pass­ing?

And does gen­der play a part?

The Sun­day Post to­day pub­lishes the latest test re­sults from the DVSA’s 77 cen­tres around Scot­land.

They re­veal that the pretty sea­side vil­lage of Gol­spie in Suther­land, with a pop­u­la­tion un­der 2000, boasts the coun­try’s high­est pass rate, at 82.1%.

Mal­laig scores the coun­try’s sec­ond- high­est rate of 77.8%, with Ul­lapool third at 74.5%.

At the op­po­site end of the pop­u­la­tion scale, Glas­gow pro­duced the worst re­sults.

Shield­hall, Knightswood and An­nies­land re­ported pass rates of 39.7%, 42.2% and 42.3% re­spec­tively.

Boys do bet­ter than girls in the prac­ti­cal test with ex­cep­tions in only 10 cen­tres – all but one of them, Stran­raer, in the High­lands and Is­lands.

Driv­ing In­struc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­am­iner Karen Brans­grove says: “Males seem to be more in­ter­ested in driv­ing and me­chan­ics and seem to re­quire fewer lessons.” But while gen­der plays a part in suc­cess be­hind the wheel, she says where you sit your test does not.

The ex­am­in­ing ex­pert says: “DVSA ex­am­in­ers are trained to look for uni­form faults. You can be on any street any­where but if

you do not have the skills to drive prop­erly it shows quickly. Rolling on a hill will be the same in a re­mote vil­lage in Scot­land as it is on a street in Glas­gow.”

Karen be­lieves that, in cities, more peo­ple sit their test with­out re­ceiv­ing pro­fes­sional tuition. Cities also draw a higher num­ber of for­eign driv­ers who may bid to ob­tain a UK li­cence with­out seek­ing for­mal train­ing.

And, as peo­ple rely more heav­ily on cars in out­ly­ing ar­eas, ru­ral res­i­dents are more likely to seek pro­fes­sional tuition.

Libby Richard­son was thrilled to gain her li­cence in Gol­spie, which has the high­est pass rate in Scot­land.

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