Preston is one of the best places for passing your driving test
Learner drivers at the Preston Test Centre were among the best in class in the North West last year, with one of the best records for passing their test at the first attempt.
But the RAC Foundation warned the real challenge for newly qualified drivers comes after their test as they are much more likely to have a crash in their first year on the road.
Hopeful students made 3,859 first attempts at passing their car driving test at Preston Test Centre in 2019-20, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency figures show.
Of those, 2,145 were successful, which at a pass rate of 56 per cent, was one of the highest of any test centre in the region included in the data.
This excludes centres that recorded fewer than 100 first-attempt tests as the DVSA cautions against drawing conclusions from such low numbers.
The average pass rate for first attempts across Britain was 46 per cent last year.
Learners at the Arbroath Test Centre in Scotland held the best record, at 72 per cent, while only just over a quarter of those making a first attempt at the Pavilion Test Centre in Birmingham gained their licence at the first time of asking.
RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said test centres in quieter locations may prove less challenging on the day than those in congested urban areas.
“Every driver knows that passing the test is only the first hurdle – the real challenge comes when a newly qualified driver has to take full responsibility themselves,” he said.
“Safely negotiate the first 1,000 miles after gaining your licence and the risk of having a crash drops sharply.”
Mr Gooding said data suggested that a decline in the number of young people holding a driving licence in recent years had begun to reverse.
He added: “With the challenges of Covid-related restrictions we could witness higher numbers of young people learning to drive because they see it as important to their employment prospects."
Of the 3,859 first attempts made at Preston Test Centre, 158 drivers passed with no faults.
They were among 10,375 learners across Britain who passed on their first attempt without putting a foot wrong.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said pass rates can be affected by many factors before the test, including the number of lessons a learner takes, their level of experience and road layouts in the area.
The DVSA said the figures are based on driver licence numbers, so someone who has changed their licence number could be reported more than once in the data.