Rise in French driving test failures after introduction of new questions

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An attempt to improve road safety in France has backfired after the country's new driving test saw failure rates soar.

The test, which was only introduced on Monday, contains a random selection from 1,000 new questions that cover subjects including judgment of danger, consideration for vulnerable road users and first aid, rather than just the laws of the road.

A pass rate of 70 per cent was seen under the previous Highway Code exam, however with the introduction of the more complicated test, the failure rate has jumped to a sky-high 83 per cent.

In Ile-de-France, only seven people out of 400 passed the test, while in another department only one in 60 test candidates passed, Europe1 reported.

The French government's road safety chief Emmanuel Barbe acknowledged the issues with the new test, but said that the pass rate would rise once driving schools had adapted to the new curriculum.

"We are analysing the questions which caused difficulty," he commented. "We will withdraw them temporarily and redraft them if necessary."

However, French citizens are less than impressed. On Tuesday Cyrille Lachevre, a journalist for liberal daily newspaper l'Opinion tweeted: "Highway code test: driving schools weren't ready. For once a reform comes too fast in France."

French publication, Le Point, supported his comment, reporting on Tuesday that not all driving schools had yet received the training material for the new test.

While their online training material corresponded to the new questions, the DVDs and booklets used to prepare students for the exams had not been updated.