Driving test failure rates raise fresh suspicions in industry

More than a third of those sitting for a practical test to obtain a driving licence are being failed by Transport Malta examiners, with instructors calling for an overhaul of the testing system and checks and balances in place to prevent abuse.

Last year, a driving licence racket was revealed whereby driving test students were being moved to the front of the queue or recommended for passes by ministers and Labour Party officials.

This resulted in an unknown number of students acquiring their driving licences without the necessary skills to be safely behind the wheel.

But now, some driving instructors say that students are failing for minor or ‘silly’ reasons, skewing the pass and failure rate and making more money for certain driving schools.

“We have been in the industry far too long not to notice what is going on,” a veteran instructor told The Shift on condition of anonymity.

“It seems that many students of motoring schools are failing too often and on very simple mistakes. This benefits the same motoring schools as it means more fees are forked out by the same students in new test applications and additional weeks of lessons,” he said.

Statistics published recently in parliament, following questions raised by Nationalist Party MP Rebekah Borg, showed that between 2020 and 2023, a total of 34,048 practical driving tests were conducted by Transport Malta examiners. Almost 12,000 candidates failed, equivalent to 34%.

While this rate falls within the average across European member states, where failure rates can be between 20% and 55% on the first try, some instructors believe it is time for Transport Malta to review how the tests are conducted and what leads to a pass or a fail.

This is even more important in the context of last year’s revelations which found passes were being given to students who may not have otherwise passed, a result of political interference.

In addition, “Examiners need to be changed regularly as there is too much familiarity with certain motoring schools. Also, it does not make sense that instructors stand to benefit if their students fail. The contrary should happen,” another instructor said.

What happens after a failure?

There are around 150 registered motoring schools in Malta, and students would typically enrol with one of them, paying between €25 and €30 an hour each week for an average of six months.

When a student fails, they must re-apply through their chosen motoring school. Aside from paying another fee of some €60, including the instructor’s fee, the waiting time for another test slot is around three months.

During this time and to avoid another failure, students typically choose and are encouraged to continue lessons, paying hundreds of euro over the three months until the next test attempt occurs.

The higher the failure rate and the longer the time between tests, the more money the motoring school makes.

This system is unfair, instructors say, adding there is little sign that Transport Malta plans to reduce test waiting times or reassess pass and fail criteria.

But it is not just impacting Maltese citizens. While European citizens can use their national driving license in Malta, third-country nationals can only use theirs for a year before being required to apply for a Maltese or EU licence.

Among the more than 34,000 that failed between 2020 and 2023, some 15,000 were non-EU citizens.

                           

Sign up to our newsletter

Stay in the know

Get special updates directly in your inbox
Don't worry we do not spam
                           
                               
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Greed
Greed
1 month ago

I know someone who failed the test because the window was open while it was raining?

Anne R. key
Anne R. key
1 month ago
Reply to  Greed

But a drop of rain in a student driver’s eye would have made him/her run over a pothole no!

Anne R. key
Anne R. key
1 month ago
Reply to  Greed

A drop of rain water can blind you from driving over one of the numerous potholes……..

Judy
Judy
1 month ago
Reply to  Anne R. key

I can assure you you do not need any rain drops as many pot holes cannot be avoided as they are all over and nearly in every road.
Yes I think failing these drivers is another racket as most of my nephews and nieces were failed more then once or twice.. It is an easy money grabbing system which has been going on for some time. Then some who is pointed out by some VIP is on the road with their blessing though most of them have no idea what the highway code is all about.

Sheheryar Khan
Sheheryar Khan
1 month ago

Not 60 euros for motoring school to give the test again 150 euros the charge you

Nithu
Nithu
1 month ago

Not only in driving tests ,non -eu citizens are abused in the workplace, rental appartment being charged more,very higher fee for everything

Anne R. key
Anne R. key
1 month ago

TM is too far gone to ever recover. It is managed by staunch PL lackeys – who’s combined IQ does not exceed 5……!

Lawrence Mifsud
Lawrence Mifsud
1 month ago

15000 non-EUt drivers who fail. Add those who passed. The total are potentioal additional cars on our roads. Traffic jams are an illusion.

farhan
farhan
1 month ago

i am job less from 3 month and i feild 4 time i also drive cab almost 1 yaer but thay felid me again again just minor mistake

Related Stories

PBS Chair Mark Sammut blocks information on newsroom appointments
PBS has refused to make public information on a
€130,000 spent on marketing Stabbiltà scheme, government shy on details
The government has spent some €130,000 to promote the

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo