13 September 2023, by Emily Proctor

The waiting times for driving exams at the Dutch driving authority CBR have been getting longer and longer since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to clear the backlog faster, schools with lower pass rates will now be given fewer slots for driving exams, so that schools with higher pass rates and students who have a deeper knowledge of the road rules will be given priority to sit their exam.

Driving schools with less than 30 percent pass rate given fewer exam slots

For the first time, the Dutch government is now making a distinction between driving schools where students are likely to pass their exam, and schools with a low pass rate. For the past few weeks, driving schools with pass rates higher than 30 percent have been able to book more slots for their students to take exams. 

At the moment, the average pass rate for driving exams in the Netherlands is just above 50 percent, with most students taking the exam around 2,5 times before they can pass. “As far as we are concerned, that success rate can be increased. The industry must get to work on this”, a CBR spokesperson told Dutch broadcaster NOS

Catch-up on 300.000 exams needed since the pandemic

CBS has a backlog of around 300.000 exams to catch up on, caused by coronavirus lockdowns. The organisation is attempting to reduce the backlog by hiring more examiners to tackle the waitlist, though this takes time to have an effect. The average waiting time is now 11,7 weeks across the country, with only the province of Limburg having a waiting list below the standard seven weeks. 

In the Randstad, some students are having to wait up to 18 weeks for an exam slot, much to the frustration of driving schools and the students themselves. A CBR spokesperson told NOS that often students apply to take the exam too early and therefore end up failing. “Our examiners have to cancel the exam three thousand times a year because the candidate is not yet ready for it and is a danger on the road. That is far too many. The more people pass the first time, the fewer re-examinations and therefore the faster the CBR is catching up,” the spokesperson said.

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