Motorists are learning their Highway Code to pass their test - rather than retaining it to help them drive safely, a worrying new study suggests.
Motors.co.uk has found that virtually all motorists would not pass their driving theory exam if they had to take it today. The test was launched in 1996, experiencing several revisions since.
But the firm, which used an internet-based mock exam, showed that 49 out of 50 motorists would not pass. With a real theory exam failure, this would block their entry to a practical test.
What makes the research even more concerning is that this 98% failure rate bumps up to 100% among drivers passing their test under six months earlier.
Bizarrely, 5% of motorists believe it is permissible to travel on the hard shoulder of the motorway - providing they are overtaking, braking or stuck in a jam.
Two in three drivers do not know any of the safety steps involving blind and deaf people on the road.
The study suggests that older drivers have retained their knowledge far better. Nine of the 12 who did pass the mock test out of 1,000 takers had achieved a pass in their real test at least 16 years earlier.
But however bad it seems, mock test failures would be hard-pressed to top the unenviable record of one hapless London woman who has failed the theory test no fewer than 110 times.
Motors.co.uk's director of business intelligence and marketing, Dermot Kelleher advises motorists to brush up on their Highway Code by testing themselves and their friends.
He said the research shows that drivers are not truly absorbing the information for the long-time, just to pass their exam.