Facts about becoming a driver

Looking at the press release: Consultation on cost of Driving Tests from the , I noticed the use of data, particularly in the Notes to Editors.

The DSA is “carrying out a on modernising arrangements to take driving tests.”   Downloads of the consultation paper and response form can be readily found on the DSA website, which is good practice.

One of the main aspects of the consultation is the price of driving tests.  If you’d asked me how much I thought it cost to take the theory and practical car tests – I would probably have estimated £200.

Instead, even with a proposed increase of £1.50 for the theory and £8 for the practical elements, these rise to £30 and £56.50 respectively – a total of £86.50.

That’s a one off payment (if you pass), for a lifetime as a motorist – doesn’t that sound cheap to you?

It isn’t cheap to become a driver though.  The details its average lesson cost at £22, with 45 lessons typically required to pass – that’s a tenner short of a grand (£990).  And, buying, insuring and running a car are also considerable costs. 

Should it cost more to have the licence itself? 

There were more facts in the Notes to Editors.  The DSA has an annual turnover of around £152.6 million (but “profit” isn’t detailed).  It employs the equivalent of 1,945 full time driving examiners at “over 432 test centres” (how many is that then?) across mainland Great Britain. Last year, it conducted 1.8 million practical tests for car drivers, 89,000 vocational tests and 78,000 motorcycle rider tests.  A total of 1.5 million theory tests were carried out at 158 centres. At the end of the year there were 39,001 people on the Register of Approved Driving Instructors (ADI).

I’m not really sure what to make of all this data – this seems quite a high number of ADI each with an average of 46 test takers annually.  But of course, a simple analysis doesn’t reflect a real picture.

As PR practitioners, we should provide supporting data in our press releases.  Clear facts help substantiate the main messages being conveyed – but should we seek to clarify facts to add meaning, or leave further interpretation to journalists?

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.