Home Money Driving theory test cheating TRIPLES in three years as pass rate remains ‘stubbornly’ low

Driving theory test cheating TRIPLES in three years as pass rate remains ‘stubbornly’ low

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Theory cheats are on the rise: 1,652 incidents of fraud were reported nationally by theory testing centers in 2022/23, compared to 568 in 2020/21, a new Freedom of Information request from the AA Driving School shows
  • 2022-2023 was the second year in a row in which the fraud rate in theory exams increased
  • 1,652 incidents were reported where impersonators were caught with fines or jail time
  • The pass rate for theory exams remains low and there is a backlog in practical tests

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The number of driving test cheats is increasing.

The number of people illegally trying to pass driving tests has tripled in the past three years amid low pass rates and long wait times to book practical tests, a shocking new report has revealed.

There were 1,652 fraudulent incidents reported nationally by theory test centers in 2022/23, compared to 1,151 cases the year before and just 568 cases in 2020/21, the AA Driving School revealed.

Theory cheats are on the rise: 1,652 incidents of fraud were reported nationally by theory testing centers in 2022/23, compared to 568 in 2020/21, a new Freedom of Information request from the AA Driving School shows

Theory cheats are on the rise: 1,652 incidents of fraud were reported nationally by theory testing centers in 2022/23, compared to 568 in 2020/21, a new Freedom of Information request from the AA Driving School shows

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Annual number of driving test impersonators reported by test centers

2015/16: 467

2016/17: 414

2017/18: 537

2018/19: 653

2019/20: 848

2020/21: 568

2021/22: 1,151

2022/23: 1,652

Source: AA Driving School – figures provided by test centers via FOI request

Throughout 2022 and 2023, 625 people were investigated for theory exam fraud.

This resulted in 46 prosecutions.

Anyone caught attempting to impersonate someone else to take a theory or practical exam will be fined or even jailed.

However, it is said that the increase in the number of cases of illegal activities is related to this

Nationally, pass rates for theory exams remain relatively low – just 45.5 percent – ​​while the average waiting time for a practical exam at 75 percent of test centers is still higher than the pre-pandemic average of six weeks.

The AA Driving School reports that many test centers are still showing average wait times of more than five months.

Camilla Benitz, managing director of the company, said: ‘The increase in reports of theory test fraud is alarming, but shows the lengths people will go to to get that important pass.

‘The increase in cheating coincides with the fact that waiting times for booking a driving test are skyrocketing and that the pass rate for the theory test remains stubbornly low.’

The driving theory exam consists of two parts. Candidates must pass both the multiple choice test (43 out of 50) and the hazard perception test (44 out of 75) to be successful

The driving theory exam consists of two parts. Candidates must pass both the multiple choice test (43 out of 50) and the hazard perception test (44 out of 75) to be successful

The driving theory exam consists of two parts. Candidates must pass both the multiple choice test (43 out of 50) and the hazard perception test (44 out of 75) to be successful

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of professional fraudsters using social media to advertise their theory test services for students who fear they will not pass the exam.

This trend grew dramatically during Covid, when lockdowns caused theory and practical exams to be delayed as centers closed to prevent the spread of the virus.

In February, an imposter – dubbed a ‘serial driving theory impersonator’ who took theory tests for €10,225 for learner drivers across the country between 2021 and 2022 – successfully avoided jail after court had appeared.

Otman Agha-Rida, 23, from North West London, took a whopping 55 exams in nine months at centers across England and Wales.

The driving theory exam consists of two parts.

Candidates must pass both the multiple choice test (43 out of 50) and the hazard perception test (44 out of 75) to be successful.

Questions cover everything from road signs and vehicle maintenance to spotting evolving hazards and ensure candidates have a thorough understanding of the Highway Code.

Theory exam requires studying and practice, availability of apps and digital resources available to students.

Candidates cannot book a practical exam until they have passed a theory exam. The pass certificate expires after two years.

A pass is valid for two years and the test costs just £23. Nowadays there are many theory test apps you can use, allowing you to learn and practice, ensuring you pass your reading first time

A pass is valid for two years and the test costs just £23. Nowadays there are many theory test apps you can use, allowing you to learn and practice, ensuring you pass your reading first time

A pass is valid for two years and the test costs just £23. Nowadays there are many theory test apps you can use, allowing you to learn and practice, ensuring you pass your reading first time

Getting a test impersonator to take the theory test for you is one of the most common ways to cheat, but bribing corrupt instructors to provide correct test answers in exchange for cash is another method people use.

In 2019, the RAC and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reported an alarming rise in the number of people paying as much as £800 or more for theory test impersonators, which cost just £23 to take.

Mark Dunnery from the DVSA said at the time: ‘At the theory test center we have CCTV footage which can identify if the person is behaving suspiciously.

‘The message to anyone who is thinking about it is: this will not be tolerated. We regularly improve on this and achieve more effective results year after year. There’s a good chance you’ll go to jail.”

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