Half of experienced drivers would fail their driving test if they were asked to take it again – if the results of an experiment by Auto Express and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) are anything to go by.

The IAM found 12 experienced drivers who were prepared to undertake a mini-driving test again and discover if they would pass their test if they had to take it in today’s conditions.

Going by the criteria of the IAM’s qualified assessors on the day, just 50% (six of the 12 who took part) would pass if they took it again today.

Auto Express revealed that 46 million people have taken their driving test since it was introduced in 1935. Back at the start the pass rate was 63% – today it has fallen to just 47%.

At the same time as the pass rate falling, the volume of vehicles has risen sharply over the years – currently there are 35 million cars registered for use on UK roads.

Failing to use mirrors enough, speeding and underuse of signals were typical of bad habits picked up by the IAM’s volunteers on the day of the experiment.

Of the 12 volunteers, seven had undergone advanced driver training with the IAM. Of those, six passed the mini test. And of the five who had had no advanced tuition, just one passed.

Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of Auto Express, said: “Driving standards has always been a hot topic and the result of our tests shows that too many people just aren’t as good at driving as they think they are.

“Although technology is making driving safer than ever, the attitude and ability of the person behind the wheel is the most important element. We always encourage people to take pride in their driving and take additional training if necessary.”