THE gap between male and female driving test pass rates has widened in Whitchurch during the coronavirus pandemic, figures suggest, despite the gender gap shrinking to a record low nationally.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency data shows that of 104 tests taken by male drivers at Whitchurch Test Centre between April and June, 57 were successful – a pass rate of 55 per cent.

Meanwhile, 50 per cent of 106 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 Whitchurch, when tests were cancelled due to lockdown restrictions.

Of the five months of available figures for Whitchurch between July and December 2020, women had a pass rate of 53 per cent, while men passed 56 per cent of tests.

Women had a success rate of 48 per cent during the same period in 2019 – which was the same as the rate for men, meaning there was no gap between the genders.

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.

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

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: "The impact of the pandemic means we're in unusual times when it comes to driving tests, not least because there's an enormous backlog of drivers waiting to take tests and get out on the road.

"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."