RSA: Driving test backlog will take 20 weeks to clear

RSA: Driving test backlog will take 20 weeks to clear

There are 6,068 essential workers booked in for a test in the coming weeks, and a further 62,193 waiting for a driving test. 

The driving test backlog would take 20 weeks to clear if all those eligible were offered a test, the RSA has admitted.

A briefing note from the Road Safety Authority has told members of the Oireachtas that there are now 6,068 essential workers booked in for a test in the coming weeks, and a further 62,193 waiting for a driving test. 

However, just 25% of available capacity is being used due to Covid restrictions meaning that the RSA can only test frontline workers.

The authority said the restrictions mean that it is impossible to say how long people may have to wait for a test.

"It is not possible to provide waiting times for the driving test because the service is not operating as normal. As tests are only available to essential workers and we have surplus capacity we are able to offer test slots to essential workers almost on demand.

"If all customers who are eligible to be tested at present (i.e., no restrictions) were offered a test appointment in chronological order, we estimate that average waiting times would be more than 20 weeks."

Driver theory tests

Another 80,000 people are waiting on a driver theory test, the note says. While the RSA is examining ways to do 50,000 tests a month, it is also looking at making these tests available online.

"We are working on a plan to roll out an online driver theory test service called Pro Proctor. Pro Proctor has been trialled during the months of December and January for those taking a theory test for trucks and buses. 

"The pilot is now being evaluated and the RSA is committed to extending the service for all theory test types during 2021. 

"There will be a limit on the number of customers that can avail of the service during the initial rollout phase, but the objective is that it should be an option for all theory test customers during later phases of the rollout."

A further 31,272 are ineligible to sit a test due to not having logged their required lesson hours.

'Get a move on'

Labour TD for Cork East Sean Sherlock said the RSA's update is "clearly telling the Government to cop on".

"Basically what they're saying to the government is that they are requesting the government to open up driver theory testing to deal with the backlog that's there. They're basically saying to the government ‘Come on, Get a move on'.

"This needs to start happening straight away, and I hope the government, government TDs - Fianna Fáil TDs, Fine Gael TDs and Green TDs are listening

"I hope that pressure will be brought to bear by those TDs on their government ministers who are in charge of this to open it up."

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins said the figures showed that the theory test should move online.

“Moving the service online just makes sense. The RSA has been progressing plans to increase capacity once their services resume and is also piloting an online programme which will allow people to sit the theory test online. This needs to be accelerated now to help clear the backlog.

“Many businesses have had to move online in the last year and have found innovative ways to keep appointments running remotely. 

"We have seen schools and colleges successfully adapting to allow online exams, so we know it can be done while maintaining the integrity of the test."

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.