Two in three drivers would fail theory test

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Two thirds of fully qualified drivers would fail a driving theory test if they sat one today, new research by Churchill car insurance has revealed.

In a study of 50 full licence holders, who were made to sit a real-life theory test, more than a third (34 per cent) failed the hazard perception element, where drivers have to identify potential driving hazards from a video clip.

Worryingly, half of those who sat the test failed on the multiple choice question section, traditionally seen as the easier part of the assessment. A pass in both sections is required to successfully complete the theory test.

The research was carried out by Churchill to highlight the importance of drivers keeping up to date with their road knowledge.

Alongside the test, additional research showed that over half (53 per cent) of drivers in the UK believed that there should be a compulsory re-take of both parts of the theory test at least every 10 years.

Those who took part in the study found questions on roads and traffic signs the most difficult, followed by those on accidents and vehicle control. Vulnerable road users and vehicle safety also proved to be areas where motorists exhibited poor knowledge.

The study found that only 15 per cent of road users felt completely road literate, and able to understand every road sign and marking they encountered.

Steve Barrett, head of Churchill car insurance, said: "An inability to read the road properly often leads to hesitant and unsafe driving behaviours, so we'd urge all road users to regularly brush up on their knowledge of road signs and regulation, as these are frequently updated."

The theory element of the driving test was introduced in 1996, and has since been regularly updated to stay abreast of changes to vehicle and highway regulations.