THE gap in driving test pass rates between men and women has narrowed in Chadderton in the last two years, according to figures.

The RAC said it is encouraging to see the gap shrinking across the UK, but warned time will tell if the trend continues as test numbers rise after the end of lockdown restrictions.

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show 54 per cent of male drivers passed their test at Chadderton Test Centre between April and June of this year.

Meanwhile, 47 per cent of female drivers passed their test – a gap of seven percentage points.

Figures for April to June in 2020 are not available as a result of lockdown restrictions, but the gap in 2019 was 11 percentage points.

This is because male drivers had a pass rate of 50 per cent in April to June 2019, whilst female drivers had a pass rate of 39 per cent.

There is a similar trend across the UK, where the gap in driving test pass rates is the smallest it has ever been at 4.7 percentage points.

Responding to the figures, a spokesperson for the RAC said: "The impact of the pandemic means we're in unusual times when it comes to driving tests, not least because there's an enormous backlog of drivers waiting to take tests and get out on the road.

"While it's encouraging that the gender driving test pass gap appears to be closing, only time will tell whether this is a trend that continues as the number of people taking tests starts to return to normal."

Edmund King, president of the AA, added: "The pandemic has had an impact on the overall pass rate.

"People who took their test in April to June this year would have been likely to have had their lessons disrupted by the lockdown restrictions of 2020, so may well have taken lessons over a longer period of time than they would have done, had there been no restrictions.

"Many of them would have been in the backlog of people who booked a test, knowing if they failed it may be a long wait before they could retake it.

"This could all have had an impact on the small improvement in the pass rate."

Finally, a spokesperson for the DVSA said practical and theory tests are designed to measure a candidate's ability to drive safely and responsibly as well as making sure they know the theory behind safe driving.

They said: "All candidates are assessed to the same standard and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day."