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Racial bias: Black women least likely to pass driving test

DRIVING TEST: Black women have the lowest pass rates of all demographics analysed in a recent investigation into racial bias in the UK

BLACK WOMEN are the group least likely to pass the UK practical driving test, an investigation into racial bias in the UK has revealed.

Figures for the years 2008-2017 obtained and analysed by The Guardian following a Freedom of Information Request, revealed that black women had a pass rate of 32 per cent, the lowest of all demographics. White men had the highest practical driving test pass rate at 56 per cent.

Overall women had a pass rate of 43 per cent, while men had a pass rate of 50 per cent.

Equality and anti-racism campaigners have said the statistics show that women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds were being subjected to bias on the grounds of their race.

Mark Winn, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s chief examiner, told The Guardian: “All candidates are assessed to the same level and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day.

“We constantly monitor our examiner’s performance so they conduct and assess driving tests in accordance with the standards set. This includes the supervision of live tests.”

Despite Winn’s assertions, there have been calls for further investigation into the experiences of black and minority ethnic drivers during the practical driving test.

Omar Khan, the director of the Runnymede Trust, told The Guardian: “The behaviour post-licence suggests women are safer and better drivers, so the pass rates require further explanation.”

He added: “We also know from the workplace that assessments typically involve a degree of interpretation or discretion, and that this often disadvantages ethnic minorities and women. We need more detail on why candidates fail and can’t assume that the higher male pass rate is fair.”

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