Daily Mail

Now driv­ing test ex­am­in­ers face racism and sex­ism claims

- By James Salmon Trans­port Edi­tor Racism · Sexism · Discrimination · Driving · Human Rights · Society · United Kingdom · Basingstoke · Essex · Barnsley · Worthing · Ian McIntosh · Race Equality Foundation

DRIV­ING ex­am­in­ers have been ac­cused of racism and sex­ism af­ter of­fi­cial fig­ures re­vealed black women are far less likely than white men to pass their driv­ing test.

Black fe­male motorists had the low­est pass rate at 32 per cent, while white men had the high­est pass rate at 56 per cent, fig­ures re­leased by the Driver and Ve­hi­cle Stan­dards Agency show.

Over­all, men are also sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to pass their test than women. Ac­cord­ing to the DVSA data cov­er­ing 2008 to last year, 50 per cent of men passed, com­pared with 43 per cent of women.

And 2016/17 data from the UK’s 347 larger test cen­tres showed that black and Asian peo­ple had a pass rate of 39 per cent, com­pared with 54 per cent for white peo­ple. The racial gap, high­lighted by The Guardian, is biggest in Bas­ingstoke, Es­sex, where 49 per cent of white ap­pli­cants and 27 per cent of those from eth­nic mi­nori­ties passed.

Barns­ley, York and Wor­thing have the next biggest dis­crep­an­cies.

Jabeer Butt, head of the Race Equal­ity Foun­da­tion, said the fig­ures showed ‘racism at play’. ‘Even when a driv­ing test should be an ob­jec­tive test, it’s clear that sub­jec­tive rules are be­ing ap­plied,’ he said. ‘We know in other ar­eas of life that black and mi­nor­ity eth­nic women tend to do the poor­est. We are now see­ing this repli­cated in driv­ing.’

Omar Khan, chief of the Run­nymede Trust, a race equal­ity think­tank, stressed that cau­tion must be ap­plied when in­ter­pret­ing the data. But he said there ap­peared to be a bias in favour of white men, who also tended to be the ex­am­in­ers.

The claims were re­jected by the in­dus­try. Speak­ing on be­half of the Driv­ing In­struc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion, Karen Brans­grove said: ‘The rea­son peo­ple fail their tests has noth­ing to do with racism or sex­ism or where they are from. It is down to the way they pre­pare for their test.’

Ian McIn­tosh, head of RED Driv­ing School, added: ‘Our mis­sion is to teach safe driv­ing and this is not af­fected by gen­der, re­li­gion, eth­nic­ity or any other vari­able.’

And the DVSA’s chief driv­ing ex­am­iner Mark Winn said: ‘All can­di­dates are as­sessed to the same level.’

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