It’s official... Downpatrick area has best learner drivers

It’s official... Downpatrick area has best learner drivers

5 June 2019

NEWLY published statistics have revealed that the Downpatrick Driver and Vehicle Agency centre is top of the class for driving test pass rates.

Figures released by the Agency reveal that province-wide, the overall pass rate for driving test centres was 55.4%, with Downpatrick in a league of its own with a pass rate of almost 74%.

Incredibly, the Cloonagh Road centre has now recorded the highest number of private car driving test pass rates for the 17th consecutive quarter. 

The lowest driving test pass rate was recorded at Altnagelvin in Derry at almost 43%.

The new figures reveal that across Northern Ireland, DVA examiners conducted just under 58,000 driving tests in a variety of vehicles including cars, MoTorcycles, lorries and buses during 2018/19, broadly unchanged from the number conducted in the previous year. 

While Downpatrick is in a league of its own in terms of car driving test pass rates, it does not do as well in terms of vehicle inspection tests with the Agency confirming  that the Cloonagh Road base was one of the quietest MoT centres during the first quarter of the year.

The figures reveal that 11,600 vehicle tests were carried out at the Downpatrick centre between January and April.

The busiest centre was Newtownards which carried out over 32,000 tests over the same period, but officials attribute the high figure to the fact that this particular centre has a greater number of vehicle inspection lanes.

The new figures reveal that while the overall MoT pass rate for private cars was 84%, the Belfast inspection centre at Balmoral recorded the highest pass rate — 87% — for the 26th consecutive year.

Overall, almost 1.1 million vehicle tests were carried out during the last financial year, an increase of 1.8% compared to the previous 12 months. The pass-rate for full tests was 81.8% which is the highest on record.

The DVA figures have also revealed that for the 2018 calendar year, there were approximately 51,500 new private-car registrations in Northern Ireland —  five percent less than in 2017 — with Ford the most popular make, white the most popular colour and petrol the most popular fuel type.

At the end of last year there were almost 1.2m vehicles licensed in Northern Ireland with cars the overwhelming majority.

In terms of private care theory tests, approximately 72,500 were conducted during the past financial year which represents an increase of 2.3% on the previous 12 months. The overall pass rate for private car theory tests was 46%, a small decrease on the previous year.

Over a quarter of a million licensing transactions were carried out by DVA during 2018/19 which marks a decrease of just over 18.5% in comparison with the volume carried out in 2017/18. 

Officials say as the period of validity of a driving licence changed from three years to 10 in 1985, this has resulted in a significant cyclical pattern with a peak renewal period during the middle of each decade.

At the end of March this year, there were just over 1.1m full and eligible licence holders with private cars and light van driving licences — a rise of 1.4% compared with the total 12 months earlier.

Also at the end of the financial year, there were approximately 10,300 licensed taxi drivers, down by 9.4% when compared with the same point of 2018.  Similarly, there were nearly 8,800 licensed taxi vehicles, down 1.7% on 2018.