'Alarming rise' in learner drivers cheating on their theory test

Reports of learner drivers cheating on theory tests have tripled in three years, according to new data.

More than 1,600 incidents of cheating were reported by theory test centres in 2022-2023 compared with 568 in 2020-2021, according to figures from the Driving Standards Agency.

Out of the 1,652 reports in 2022/23, 625 people were investigated for cheating - resulting in 46 prosecutions for theory test fraud.

Despite the high number of cheating allegations, the current pass rate for the theory test is just 45.4%.

It comes as waiting times to book a practical driving test have skyrocketed since COVID.

Analysis by the AA found the average wait time was more than five months, up from six weeks at 75% of test centres before lockdown.

Candidates are unable to book their practical driving test until they have passed the theory - which consists of two elements: multiple choice and hazard perception.

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Both are meant to ensure candidates have a thorough understanding of the Highway Code.

To pass, candidates must score 43 out of 50 in the multiple-choice questions and 44 out of 75 in hazard perception.

The tests are all done via a computer system at an official DSA test centre. The AA did not elaborate to say how people were unfairly passing the test.

Camilla Benitz, AA Driving School managing director, said the jump in reports of cheating is "alarming".

"[It] indicates the lengths people will go to secure that all important pass," she said.

"While passing the theory test does require revision and time spent practicing, it shouldn't have learners turning to illegal fraudsters to pass."

Ms Benitz recommended learners use theory test apps to help prepare and revise.