The chances of getting a driver’s license are very different from the examiner

This is according to figures from CBR, which research editors at RTL Nieuws have examined. 10 percent of all examiners have higher or lower pass rates than one might expect.

Short about

RTL Nieuws analyzed more than 435,000 exam results from 2018 and 2019. This shows that there are large differences between the examiners’ pass rates. Success rates range from 17 to 79 percent.

Gender matters

It is striking that for a number of censors there are large differences between the success rate of male and female candidates.

An outlier is an examiner for whom 67 percent of all male graduates receive their driver’s license at one time. If you come to this examiner as a woman, the chance of passing is significantly lower, namely 45 percent.

But it also happens the other way around: with another censor, 52 percent of the female candidates passed the test at one time, but only 33 percent of the men passed the driving license at one time.

38 censors differ

A difference between the pass rates of men and women does not necessarily mean that an examiner is biased. To rule out the possibility that this difference arose by chance, RTL Nieuws asked three professors to look at the data. They determine that there are at least 38 censors for whom there are indications that they are discriminating against students based on their gender.

Of these 38 examiners, 17 are stricter for men and 21 stricter for women. “These examiners stand out because they differ extremely from what one would expect,” says Casper Albers, professor of statistics at the University of Groningen.

According to Martijn Meeter, professor of educational science at the Free University of Amsterdam, there may be an examiner among whom there is a case of coincidence. “But a large proportion of these examiners have, probably unknowingly, a bias that leads to a slightly greater chance of success for men or women.”

Men are more likely to succeed nationally

There are also national differences between the success rates for men and women. In the Netherlands, 51 percent of men pass the driving test at once. In women, it is 48 percent. It may not seem like the big difference at first glance. But in 1000 exams, 30 women fail more than men. “The chance that this is due to coincidences is really microscopic,” Albers says.

This difference is difficult to explain. “We see that there is a gender bias in all parts of society. We know that the crossbar is often set higher for women than for men. Or perhaps male graduates are more interested in cars and driving.” According to Albers, we can not determine the cause from these figures.

Worse in Rotterdam

In one region you have a greater chance of passing your driving test than in the other region. In Almelo, South Limburg and Heerlen, more than 60 percent of the candidates succeed at once. But are you driving in Rotterdam? Then you are less lucky. Here it is only 35 percent. See the success rates for the CBR region where you live on the map below.

According to Meeter, the regional differences can be explained by differences in population, the quality of the driving schools in the region and the types of roads used. This varies by region.

But according to Meeter, who has analyzed the figures from RTL Nieuws, the region is not the only explanation for deviating success rates. “The analysis shows that whether you have a strict or flexible censor has more of an impact on your chance of passing than where you drive off.”


RTL Nieuws has long investigated unequal treatment at CBR. Have you experienced this or do you have any tips for this? Send our research editors an email to

Answer CBR

CBR says in a response that the quality of exams is paramount. “We do this as uniformly and objectively as possible in a human assessment.” To find out if a censor deviates, the CBR uses a monitoring system that looks at 18 different factors, such as the age of the candidate, and whether he or she has passed the temporary test.

In its own analysis of the figures, CBR also finds examiners whose pass rates differ significantly. In 2018 there were 70 censors and in 2019 there were 74. In 20 and 25 of these censors it had to do with the gender of the candidate.

“If we see a discrepancy in an examiner, we find out why that difference is there,” CBR says. Adjustments are then made through interviews, coaching and, where necessary, continuing or continuing education.


RTL Nieuws analyzed all the results of the practical exam B from 2018 and 2019. The analysis was carried out in collaboration with three professors: Martijn Meeter, Casper Albers and Rens van de Schoot. We did not include re-examinations in the analysis and only examiners who examined at least 100 men and at least 100 women.

To determine how many examiners the candidate’s gender plays a role, we looked at the extent to which the differences in passing rates differ from the national difference between men and women.

We also examined which factors (such as region and age) play a role in the success rate. Because the censors and candidates are anonymised, we could not check whether, for example, the candidate’s origin or level of education also played a role.

RTL Nieuws analyzed the data over two years. CBR looked at data per. year. We do not know if there is an overlap between the censors who were considered deviant by the CBR in 2018 and 2019.

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