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Driving test turns 80

Forgive me if I don't crack open the champagne and party poppers - having failed my driving test a month ago, I'm not feeling overly positive about the whole concept.

My own bitterness aside, the introduction of the driving test in 1935 was an incredible step forward in road safety. The year before the test was introduced, the death toll was 7,000 despite there only being 2.3 million cars on the road. The year after it had fallen dramatically to 1,000.

What the driving test looked like in 1935

The first driving tests cost you the princely sum of 7 shillings and sixpence, which is about 37p now. The test took half an hour compared to an hour today - and because there were no test centres, you had to meet your examiner at the post office or train station.

246,000 people applied to take their test that first year and 63% passed, compared to less than half now. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the test is much harder these days. There are many million more cars around for one thing - 25 million to be exact.

In the 80 years since the first test on 1 June 1935, more than 46 million tests have been taken in the UK.


A film made by Ford to reassure people about the newfangled driving test


Got your own driving test coming up? Check out our tips for success.


Honor Clement-Hayes

By Honor Clement-Hayes

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .

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ingenie is a car insurance brand for young drivers aged 17-25. We fit a black box in your car to assess your driving style. We'll review your policy 3 times a year and those who drive well could receive a discount.

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