Which do you reckon has the higher pass-rate following manual or automatic driving lessons? You might think that as there is less to think about when driving an automatic car that their tests would yield the greater number of passes, but this turns out to be counter intuitive. The average pass-rate for manual transmission drivers stands at a coin toss of 45.9% (which some of you may think is surprisingly low), whereas pass-rates for automatics stand at a meagre 39.5% which is not an insignificant difference. And the reason for this remains largely a mystery. It has been speculated that a large proportion of those who take their lessons in automatic cars are attempting to get an easier ride, which results in an underestimation regarding the difficulty of learning to drive in any vehicle, regardless of transmission. But this is simply conjecture. It is an unfair assumption that lacks any real evidence or analysis.
However, we are likely to see these pass-rate percentages level out as we approach 2030, which is when the sales of cars with combustion engines will be banned. This means that hybrid and electric cars will take centre stage – all of which have a single forward motor, classing them as automatics. In fact, in 2011 only 24% of new car sales were autos, which has risen to 49% as of 2019. So, it is likely that in Thatcham we will eventually see a rise in popularity for lessons in automatics, especially as we transition into the realms of electric and hybrid vehicles.