THE gap between male and female driving test pass rates has narrowed in Poole during the coronavirus pandemic, figures suggest.

The RAC said it is encouraging to see the gender gap shrinking nationally, but warned "time will tell" if the trend continues as driving test numbers recover following Covid-related disruption.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency data shows that of 587 tests taken by male drivers at Poole Test Centre between April and June, 383 were successful – a pass rate of 65 per cent.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of 651 tests taken by women were passed over this period, giving a gap of five percentage points.

Figures for this period in 2020 were unavailable for Poole, when tests were cancelled due to lockdown restrictions.

Women had a success rate of 50 per cent during the same period in 2019 – compared to 60 per cent for men, meaning there was a gap of 10 percentage points between the genders.

In the first quarter of 2018-19, the gap was six percentage points.

Across Great Britain, 49.2 per cent of tests taken by women between April and June were passed – a higher proportion than during any similar period on record, and up from 47.1 per cent in 2020-21 as a whole.

Though the male success rate also rose, the gap between the two genders (4.7 percentage points) is now the closest it has ever been – previously peaking at 7.3 in 2018.

"While it’s encouraging that the gender driving test pass ‘gap’ appears to be closing, only time will tell whether this is a trend that continues as the number of people taking tests starts to return to normal.”

Of the five months of available figures for Poole between July and December 2020, women had a pass rate of 57 per cent, while men passed 65 per cent of tests.

A DVSA spokesman said practical and theory tests are designed to measure a candidate's ability to drive safely and responsibly as well as making sure they know the theory behind safe driving.

He added: "All candidates are assessed to the same standard and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day.”