Now driving test examiners face racism and sexism claims
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.’