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Drivers who pass test first time safer

Drivers who pass their test first time are less likely to have an accident than those who take it several times, new research has found.

A study commissioned by the Department for Transport showed that "first time passers" were 15 per cent less likely to be involved in a collision.

According to the research carried out by TRL, formerly the Transport Research Laboratory, the confidence gained from passing a test first time influences the behaviour of a novice motorist.

"First time passers were on average more confident about their driving abilities," the research noted.

"They also reported making fewer inexperience errors, but more violations and more aggressive violations when driving."

However the study also showed that those who were taking their test for the first time were more likely to fail the on the road exam than those who were making their second or third attempt.

They did, however, score higher on the theory test.

A second study by TRL showed that the chances of having an accident during the first six months after passing a test hinged on whether learner drivers were given extensive tuition on how to drive in town centres and in the rain before they took their test.

Those who had were found to have developed an "attentive, careful, responsible and safe driving style".

According to the latest statistics released by the Driving Standards Agency 45.6 per cent of candidates passed their driving test last year.

These studies appeared to underpin the concern that the existing arrangements merely test a young motorist's ability to pass an exam, rather than their competence behind the wheel.

This has triggered the biggest overhaul in the test for decades which with the introduction of what is known as "independent driving".

From Monday candidates will no longer be given turn by turn instructions by an examiner. Instead they will be told to follow signs to a local landmark, such as a railway station.

In addition the Department for Transport has removed driving test routes from the internet, making it harder for candidates to learn the courses at their centre by rote.

"If you pass a test first time, you are likely to be well prepared," said Andrew Howard, the AA's head of road safety. "It means you will have had the extra tuition and driven the extra miles.

"It also means that you will have gained the experience of driving in town, driving in the dark and in rain rather than just pottering around the test route."

Mike Penning, road safety minister, said the Government was looking to overhaul the driving test .

“We want all new drivers to be able to drive safely and independently and are considering how both training and testing can be improved to achieve this.

“Next week a new independent driving element will be added to the driving test, allowing candidates to demonstrate their ability to drive safely in more realistic situations without detailed instructions from the examiner. This will better prepare all new drivers for life on the road.”

© Telegraph.co.uk