THE old adage ‘if at first you don’t succeed, then try again’ was pushed to its limit by one driver who could have forked out around £3,000 on lessons and exams.
A 23-year-old man finally passed his practical test at the 18th time of asking last year in an ordeal which could have cost £2,016 based on 18 exams costing £62 each and a further £50 on two lessons between each exam.
His wallet could have been dented even further if he spent £1,250 on 50 lessons at £25 – the average number of lessons taken by a learner driver before their test, according to the AA.
Currently, drivers from Chard and Ilminster have to travel to Taunton or Yeovil to take their practical test.
A Freedom of Information Request to the Driving Standards Agency revealed the top ten longest attempts to pass a practical car driving test at the Taunton test centre between January, 2009, and January, 2014.
Included in the list was a 33-year-old man who passed his test at the 17th attempt in 2012 and a 28-year-old woman who failed her exam 12 times before finally holding her nerve last year.
In total, the top ten drivers had a staggering 122 shots at the exam before they all eventually got their prized piece of paper to allow them on the road.
In 2011, the Driving Standards Agency revealed that an unnamed 26-year-old woman had failed her theory test on 90 occasions and it was estimated that she spent nearly £2,800 on the exams.
Those who pass a test after several attempts are more likely to have a crash in their first year of unsupervised driving, according to recent research at TRL, formerly the Government’s transport research laboratory.
Terry Beale, Somerset Road Safety manager, said: “There are often stories about people who can’t seem to pass their driving tests over many attempts, and one must remember that the stress of taking a test can be enormous.
“Something unexpected can take place on the test or, frankly, some people don’t have the skills to drive in a safe manner.
“Anyone wanting to take their driving test should learn with an approved driving instructor who will try to ensure that they are ready to take their test.”