I have been a driving instructor for over 25 years and if anyone asked me when it comes to the driving test does the colour of someone’s skin matter I would have had no hesitation in saying NO. But after looking at the official DVSA (Driving Vehicle Standards Agency) stats (DVSA are the people that conduct the driving test) it seems that the colour of someones skin might make a difference. At some test centres like Eastbourne the difference in the pass rates is a vast. In Eastbourne the pass rates for white people is 52.8% and the pass rate for black people is 20.6%.
Here is the DVSA disclaimer


The ethnicity data should be used with extreme caution. The information is voluntarily provided by test candidates and over 70 per cent of candidates do not declare any ethnicity at all. The data are therefore subject to self-selection and self-reporting biases and it is likely that the figures do not accurately represent the true ethnicity breakdown of test candidates<span class="su-quote-cite"><a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/car-driving-test-data-by-test-centre" target="_blank">GOV.UK</a></span>
Black pupils from Intensive Courses who passed their Driving Test

Pupils who passed their Driving Test – Does The Colour of Someone’s Skin Matter?


For the full disclaimer please click on the DVSA link below.

These are the official figures on the  website. These figures were from people who were happy to take part in the survey obviously there were a lot more people who didn’t want to take part. So we probably don’t get a full incite into what really is happening at the test centres.


Eastbourne is not an isolated test centre in regards of the pass rates of white and black people. In my search of DVSA website named above I did not see many test centres in the whole of the UK where percentage wise black people passed the driving test more than white people, even in the areas of the country where there is a higher percentage of black people there is still a huge gap between the pass rates. In Wood Green for an example the percentage of passing is 48.6% as apposed to 32.4% as of August 2016. These are the latest figures available from the DVSA.


I am very rarely surprised by much but I am taken aback by the difference in the pass rates. As far as I can see the DVSA have done little about looking into why there should be such a difference in the pass rates between ethnic groups. I have never had any difference in the pass rates of the people I have taught to drive mainly because most people have passed with me first time. Is the reason that the pass rate is down to the DVSA driving test examiners or the the way people are taught to drive? Or maybe there is something else going on that I don’t understand. I really can’t explain it. I will be looking into this more over the coming weeks to see why this is happening. I will keep you updated on my findings. Hopefully we will get to the bottom of it.


Does it matter if you’re black or white when you are doing your driving test? Leave your comments below.
Please click on the DVSA website above to see for yourself. My question at the start which was does it matter if you are black or white when it comes to the driving test. The answer seems to be YES according to the DVSA’s statistics. I will remind you again to read their disclaimer on their website.

Last updated: 11/11/2022

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