Well-prepared learner drivers who pass their driving test first time will be eligible for a refund of part of the cost, under new government proposals.
The plan is intended to raise the low first-time pass rate, which stands at just 21%.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This change will give those who pass first time some money back and provide an incentive for learners to be more prepared before they take their first test.”
Learners who fail will get no rebate on the £62 charge under the plans, which have been put out to public consultation by the Department of Transport.
“There is anecdotal evidence that some learner drivers are booking a practical test date well in advance, at the start of their lessons, and then taking the test at that time whether or not they are ready,” the consultation states.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the organisation backed the proposals.
“We support measures that will encourage learner drivers to get the experience they need to pass their test first time with flying colours, rather than barely scraping through or failing and having to repeat the process a few months down the road at yet more expense,” he said.
The consultation, to be announced on Friday, will also consider introducing more flexibility to driving tests so that applicants can take them at night or on weekends, and from a wider range of centres.
The proposals are part of a wider push to improve the efficiency of government motoring agencies, said transport minister Lord Tariq Ahmad. “These proposals are about modernising customer services and improving road safety, particularly for younger drivers,” he said.
Ways of increasing the number of large goods vehicle drivers – one of the most pressing issues facing the road haulage industry – will also be considered. Changes could include streamlining the application process and improving the sharing of information between agencies.
The consultation closes on 8 January and the department will respond later next year.