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Testing times Men in Ireland have higher driving test pass rates than women, new figures show

Aside from the difference in pass rates, we must question why women are far less likely to apply for the driving test"


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A quarter more of men in Ireland sit and pass their driving test compared to women, it has been revealed.

Research from insurance broker MissQuote.ie shows that while statistics indicate that female drivers are less likely to be involved in car accidents or road fatalities, there appears to be a disparity between driver safety analysis and driving test statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Figures from the CSO in 2019 show that 25pc more men took and passed their driving test than women (55,876 vs 44,614 respectively).

Additionally, data shows that 16,189 women aged between 17-20 had a full driving licence in 2019, while 61pc (26,125) more males of the same age had obtained their licence. Overall men have 14pc more full driver’s licences, the CSO reported.

MissQuote.ie, whose policy holders are predominantly young female drivers, believe that there may be an unconscious bias holding female motorists back.

Deirdre McCarthy of MissQuote.ie said: “The overall number of men and women in the country is close to 50/50, but when it comes to drivers on the road there are significantly more male drivers. Less women drove years ago, that should have equalised over the years - but it hasn’t. Why is that?”

“Aside from the difference in pass rates, we must question why women are far less likely to apply for the driving test. 12pc more men than women applied for the test in 2019 (98,493 vs 87,886). What is stopping these female motorists?”

MissQuote.ie have outlined several factors that may impact the lower pass rate for women, mentioning that the lack of female driving testers demands further attention.

Ms. McCarthy continued: “A couple of years ago, the issue of gender representation at test centres received some attention and the RSA said at the time that they were looking to address the disparity between the number of male and female driving testers.

“At the time, just 23 out of 138 testers were women – only 17pc. We obtained an update on these figures to find they remain largely unchanged, currently standing at 114 male and 24 female testers. This is perhaps an area that should be looked at again.”

The insurance broker also stated that negative stereotyping regarding female motorists has impacted women learning to drive.

Ms McCarthy added: “Unconscious bias and a lack of confidence could also have a big part to play. When it comes to the driving test, nerves on the day can have a lot to do with whether or not you pass.

"Could it be that women are just more nervous because we are subconsciously led to believe from years of what’s intended to be harmless teasing that women are worse drivers than men? To this end, we should be championing our women drivers and giving them a sense of surety in their capabilities.”

The RSA told sundayworld.com that there was no difference in pass rates for men and women in 2020, with 51.7pc of men passing their tests and 51.5pc of women passing.

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