Did you pass your driving test first time? Ipswich has highest pass rate in region

Stock image of the A14 in the Copdock area. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Stock image of the A14 in the Copdock area. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Just over six in 10 (61%) people passed their driving test in Ipswich in 2016, the highest rate in the East of England. Take part in our poll: Did you pass first time when you took your test?

Insurance comparison firm Confused.com has used the latest Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) figures to announce that Ipswich is the easiest place in the East of England to pass a physical driving test. In 2016, 61% of tests were successful, according to the data.

The next highest in the region was 53% in Lowestoft, Norwich, Peterborough, and Stevenage.

The easiest place in the UK to pass a test was Golspie in Scotland (80%), while Belvadere in London (28%) appeared to be the hardest.

Nationally, Confused.com found a third of motorists do not believe upcoming changes to the driving test go far enough to tackle dangerous habits.

From December 4 the test will include following instructions from a satnav, a period of independent driving doubled to 20 minutes and a refreshed selection of manoeuvres deemed more realistic, such as parallel parking rather than reversing round a corner.

It is the most significant shake-up of the test since the written theory exam was introduced in 1996.

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When the measures were announced by the DVSA in April, the Government said they would help save lives by improving standards.

But a survey of 2,000 UK drivers for insurance comparison firm Confused.com found that 33% do not think they will sufficiently increase road safety.

Almost three out of four (73%) want a motorway section to be added to the test, while two-thirds (66%) are in favour of making learners drive at night.

Some 80% of respondents believe driving etiquette should be taught in a bid to reduce middle lane hogging, tailgating and vehicles cutting in at the last moment.

Confused.com motoring editor Amanda Stretton said: “To make the roads safer, drivers believe more practical changes should have been included in the new updates set to be implemented in December.

“To help improve the quality of driving on our roads, there is a valid argument that new drivers should be taught general road etiquette and how to treat fellow drivers.

“This could help to minimise stress levels, road rage and the risk of accidents, providing all drivers an easy ride.”

Driving instructor Simon Carne also warned that some of the changes “aren’t going to make people safer”.

He described one of the new manoeuvres - pulling up on the right hand side of the road, reversing for two car lengths and then rejoining traffic - as “unnecessarily dangerous” due to oncoming vehicles.

Mr Carne also criticised the removal of the three-point turn from the test, saying the decision “disappoints many of the instructors I’ve spoken to”.

He said: “We all feel that this is a really important thing for students to learn. It’s a really practical thing, which was the whole point of the changes.

“All drivers have to do it and it’s a shame that it won’t be part of the new test.”

He said he hopes the DVSA will “take some of our opinions and comments on board”.

The changes to the test were trialled for two years.

The DVSA said reducing the focus on slow speed manoeuvres on quiet roads will allow examiners to better assess the ability of learners to drive safely in busier areas, where new drivers have the most crashes.