Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), obtained by leading vehicle leasing firm Select Car Leasing, lay bare the danger posed by aggressive would-be motorists.
Last year, eight people were reported for allegedly committing a physical assault on an examiner in England and Wales - the most in the past five years - while there were 158 reports of verbal abuse.
Overall, the number of reports of assault have fallen since they hit their highest levels in 2018, when there were 241 records of verbal attacks and seven physical.
Graham Conway, Managing Director of Select Car Leasing, said:
“There’s no doubt doing the practical driving test can be an incredibly tense time, but there is never an excuse to be abusive towards an instructor. It’s disappointing to see so many alleged attacks are reported each year, and even one instance of verbal or physical abuse is one instance too many."
“Sometimes nerves can get the better of people in pressurised exam situations and it can be frustrating when things don’t quite go to plan. However, it’s important to remember that the examiner is simply doing their job, which is to make sure the only people driving on our roads are capable and qualified.”
Examiners are responsible for a range of aspects of a practical driving test, such as carrying out eyesight and vehicle safety checks and assessing the candidate’s ability on the road.
This can include how they perform in manoeuvres such as three-point turns and parallel parking, as well as general tasks such as checking mirrors and making signals.
There were two reports of physical assaults on driving examiners in both Kent and the area covering West London, Guildford and Slough last year - the most of any areas in England and Wales.
Meanwhile, of the 158 reports of verbal attacks, Greater Manchester and the area incorporating Birmingham, Worcestershire, Gloucester and Hereford both topped the table of shame with 16.
Combined with the one report of physical abuse last year, it makes the latter area, which takes in a large part of the West Midlands, as well as Gloucester and Hereford, the most dangerous area to be an examiner.
The safest regions last year were West Scotland and Cumbria, with just two verbal and no physical attacks reported.
Nationally, numbers have fluctuated each year for the past five years.
In 2016, there were 199 reports of verbal and physical attacks, followed by 243 in 2017, 249 in 2018, 234 in 2019 and 166 in 2020.
The DVSA were unable to narrow down the geographic areas any further due to concerns it may have identified the alleged attackers.
Established in 2004, Select Car Leasing is one of the UK's largest independent specialists for car leasing as well as commercial and van leasing.
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