Europeans' pass rates show wide fluctation: How drivers are put to the test elsewhere in Europe

The Netherlands

The Dutch are thought to have the most demanding driving test in Europe. Their pass rate is one of the lowest - at 40 per cent it is second only to Luxembourg, where just one in five passes - and candidates are required, on the 30-minute, 20-kilometre route, to drive on motorways and perform as many as 30 manoeuvres. The one-hour theory test is the longest in Europe.

Germany

Germans get a 'qualified driving licence' after passing their test. The licence can be taken away if they are convicted of a criminal traffic offence, or for any other reason which would suggest they are unfit to drive. This penalty was recently introduced to crack down on young drivers, and has reduced accidents involving 18- year-old drivers by 6 per cent for males and 4 per cent for females.

France

Newly qualified French drivers have been limited to a top speed of 50 mph for the past 20 years. But the Royal Automobile Club says that there is no evidence such a restriction is any use in preventing accidents.

The French are introducing a points system leading to disqualification, similar to that operating in Britain. But, unlike Britain, the points level at which new drivers will be penalised will be set lower than that for more experienced drivers. Drivers will benefit from the higher threshold the longer they are on the road without an accident.

Northern Ireland

New drivers are restricted to 45 mph and have to wear 'R-plates' for a year. There is evidence to show that accidents involving new drivers rise sharply after they discard their R-plates.

Belgium

The country has one of the highest driving test success rates in Europe - 77 per cent of candidates passing last year. But new drivers have to pass a 30-minute audio-visual exam before they can get behind the wheel and nearly 50 per cent fail.

During the 12km driving test, candidates may be asked to drive on a motorway but this is not a compulsory element of the test.

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