Friday, January 22News For London

Racial and gender bias: Is there more to driving tests than just driving?

Racial and gender prejudices take charge as UK driving test statistics reveal all. Data shows women and people of colour have a lower passing rate.

Source: Pexels.

According to a survey held by the Department for Transport, women had a lesser passing rate in practical tests than men. The survey also revealed that 45.4 percent candidates were aged between 16 to 20 years. Additionally, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) revealed that black women had only a 32 percent pass rate.

Figure 1 Source: Department for London (

Motorbike and moped license reports present comparable results as women showed a 50 percent passing rate when compared to men’s passing rate which stands at a 72 percent.

In response to the above statistics DVSA Chief Driving Examiner Mark Winn provided Westminster World with the following statement: “DVSA is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of its work and all candidates are assessed to the same level and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day.”


Figure 2 Source: Department for London (

In light of the above issue, an Asian woman, Shazia Akkari, 36, started her own driving school in Manchester after she witnessed bias within her region. Her school named ‘Drive with Shazia’ aims for treating all students equally regardless of their ethnicity and gender that further go on to take their test with the DVSA. She said to The Guardian: “It is upsetting. One person is not better than another simply because of the colour of their skin. It should be equal, there shouldn’t really be a difference.” Successful students from her school took to Facebook to talk about their experiences with the following reactions:

Adding on to this issue, a driving instructor for 22 years, Rosey Zaman claimed that students sometimes specifically ask for male instructors and that racial prejudices could possibly affect tests. She stated to The Guardian: “Women are seen as less good drivers.” While talking about being a driving instructor, Zaman also mentioned to The Guardian: “There is still scepticism about taking lessons from women.”

The problem appeared to be gravest in Basingstoke as only 27 percent of the BAME students passed their tests. However, Winn told Westminster world: “We constantly monitor our examiner’s performance so they conduct and assess driving tests in accordance with the standards set. This includes the supervision of live tests.”

Zaman has been contacted by Westminster World and is yet to comment further on the above issue.