The failure rate in the written drivers’ license tests taken last year was almost 50 percent, according to Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing records.
A total of 6,851 written exams were administered to test-takers and, out of those, the department recorded 3,599 passes, an overall pass rate of 52.5 percent.
It is possible that some of the exam-takers who failed the exam retook the 40-question test in the same year and were recorded more than once.
The test scores were somewhat lower than the department recorded during previous years. However, it seems – over the past decade – Cayman drivers have never enjoyed an abundance of success on their written exams.
The highest pass rate for any year since 2007 was 61 percent, recorded in 2014. In 2011, more drivers failed the test than those who managed to pass it.
A score of 80 percent correct answers, 32 out of 40, is required to pass on the department’s touch-screen test administered at the DVDL.
The department states in its advice to drivers: “You may be expected to know other signs/signals in the tests. To pass the test, it is recommended for you to answer all road signs correctly, and 16 out of 24 questions or alternatively, 10 or more road signs correctly and at least 22 or more to make up the 32 questions that is required.”
The “road code,” updated with regulations to the Cayman Islands Traffic Law in 2011, is 98 pages long, including seven pages of images on traffic signs drivers might encounter during their tests.
The multiple choice questions are not provided to license-seekers before the test, but the DVDL does give a few sample questions:
“Q. Why should you not wave people across at a pedestrian crossing? a) It is safer for you to carry on, b) They may not be looking, c) They may be ready to cross, d) There may be another vehicle coming.”
“Q. A large vehicle is overtaking you but is taking a long time to do so. What should you do? a) Hold your speed, b) Slow down, c) Speed up, d) Change direction.”
While the written test proved problematic for many takers, drivers fared much better on the road test, which is administered to new drivers and also residents from countries that are not part of the Geneva Convention.
Last year, about 90 percent of drivers passed the road test, with 95 percent of road test-takers passing during 2016.
The lowest pass rate ever achieved on the drivers road test was 75 percent, in 2007.
More tests given
Before legal changes made in 2011, non-Caymanians who came to the islands for work purposes did not have to sit an exam or take a road test as long as they swapped out their foreign drivers’ license for a Cayman license within three months of arrival.
Following the passage of the Traffic Law, 2011 revision, everyone coming to Cayman, as well as all new drivers, is required to take at least the written portion of the exam. Those new road rules took effect in September 2012.
That has led to a large increase in the number of people taking the written drivers exam.
In 2013, the number of people taking the test went from about 2,220 to nearly 4,000 – nearly doubling in one year.
Since then, the numbers of drivers taking the tests have grown larger. More than 6,000 tests were taken during 2016 and nearly 7,000 tests were administered last year.