The driving test is harder in the Balearics and that is why there is such a high failure rate, according to various local driving schools. They were commenting on a recent report which said that the Balearics had the highest number of failures in people taking the test for the first time. Only 38.6 per cent passed the theoretical test, compared to 48.5 per cent in the rest of the country. But some driving schools also put the blame on the students, saying that they did not study hard enough. Francisco Foguer, owner of the Foguer Vivero driving school, said that many learners took the test too early, without having studied enough. But he also admitted that the figures were alarming and that teaching methods had to be looked at. Miguel Ribas, owner of the Darder driving school, said that the high failure rate was due to two reasons: poor preparation and the difficulty of the test. He added that an increasingly higher level was demanded in the Balearics because of the increase in traffic noted over recent years. The exams are harder because there has to be a way to halt the increase in cars. The owner of one driving school, who declined to be named, claimed that although one would suppose the test to be the same throughout Spain, this was not so. He added that the latest test papers which had been sent to Palma were so difficult that even he would have difficulty in answering them. Balearic traffic chief Javier Coromina said that he was not surprised by the results because they had been evident for the past two years. I am ashamed to have to say this, he said yesterday. It is not a question of immigrants, because there are as many in other regions as in Majorca, and it is not a problem of bilingualism, as there are other regions in the same position. I think it is a problem of preparation. Learners do not take enough classes, they are in too much of a hurry. Coromina said that the exams were exactly the same all over Spain and were chosen at random. It is not true that the papers are harder here, or that we are more stupid, the traffic chief said. The report on the high failure rate for passing the driving test coincided with a report on a dramatic increase in road deaths in the Balearics.