83,000 learners waiting for driving test with 45,000 waiting for appointment

83,000 learners waiting for driving test with 45,000 waiting for appointment

Almost 83,000 people are now on the waiting list for driving tests around the country.

Some learner drivers are waiting up to six months for a test in some areas.

Independent Senator Victor Boyhan said the delays have reached crisis point and called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross to intervene.

"Many young people and families are now preparing for the new third-level term and getting back to work routines," she said.

"Young drivers need to be facilitated get their full licence to support their mobility. With high rents many young people are now commuting long distances to college or work – and they need to be able to drive independently.”

Senator Boyhan said the issue lies in a shortage of driving testers and Minister Ross needs to sanction immediate recruitment of more staff.

Information supplied to Senator Boyhan by the Road Safety Authority showed that of the 83,000 on the overall waiting list, more than 45,000 are awaiting a test appointment.

The latest figures also show that there are 98 testers nationwide. Ten have retired so far this year with two more to retire by year end.

Only four new testers have been recruited since June.

“I am calling on Minister Ross to urgently sanction recruitment of more driving testers across the country," Senator Boyhan said.

Young people and new drivers need to be able to attain their full licence more speedily.

The longest waiting time for car driver testing was in Skibbereen at 26 weeks, with 25 weeks in Castlebar, Cavan, Gorey, Killarney and Kilrush.

Average waiting times in Test Centres varied from nine weeks up to 16 in Killarney and Monaghan respectively.

The RSA says that its target is to achieve an average waiting time of ten weeks.

There are major differences in pass rates in different parts of the country.

The vast majority of applicants are passing the test in some centres, while the majority were failing in others.

83,000 learners waiting for driving test with 45,000 waiting for appointment

“During one week in August in Gorey 42 people failed the test while just 20 passed, giving an almost 70% failure rate," Senator Boyhan said.

"Meanwhile in Donegal almost 80% of applicants passed. Also, in three of the major testing centres in Dublin in Churchtown, Finglas and Raheny more people failed than passed.

“The Minister and RSA need to look to improve the high failure rate and how come this varies so much from one test centre to another. The high failure rate contributes significantly to the backlog.”

Senator Boyhan’s comments also come after Minister Ross recently stated that he planned a major crackdown on people repeatedly renewing learner permits and not taking the test for a full licence.

“If the Minister is serious about tackling this issue and also enabling people on a first learner’s permit to progress readily to a full licence – he needs to immediately sanction more testers and resources," Senator Boyhan said.

The Minister and the RSA need to act on what can be done to deliver a more consistent and higher pass rate in all centres across the country.

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