Dáil debates

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Ceisteanna (Atógáil) - Questions (Resumed) - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Driver Test Waiting Lists

5:30 pm

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I am very aware of the current wait times for driving tests across the country. I accept that these waiting times remain high but I am assured that measures being put in place by the Road Safety Authority, RSA, are working towards reducing waiting times for the public.

The authority's target for a national average waiting time for a driving test is no longer than ten weeks. The current average wait time, as at 4 February last, is 12 weeks. While the wait times at some centres such as Carrick-on-Shannon, Dún Laoghaire, ,Deansgrange, Mulhuddart and Wexford are less than six weeks, there are some centres where the wait time is considerably longer. The longest average wait time at a centre, which is Newcastle West, is just over 20 weeks. It should be noted that an applicant can apply to sit the driving test at any test centre around the country.

In 2018, following my approval, the RSA recruited 52 driver testers, and there are currently a further 14 testers undergoing training. In addition, it is planned to recruit an additional eight driver testers in March. Including the 14 driver testers currently being trained, there are now 147.94 full-time equivalent driver testers available for deployment and this provides an annual capacity of 260,000 driving tests.

Despite an increase in applications for driving tests, which may reflect legislative changes relating to enforcing the existing law on unaccompanied learner drivers - the Clancy amendment - as well as ongoing economic and demographic growth, there is a gradual reduction in waiting times at almost all test centres. With the additional resources available as well as those coming on stream, waiting times will continue to reduce at all test centres.

The RSA provides a facility where driving test cancellations are made available to applicants who may need an urgent appointment. An applicant should contact the RSA directly and request that he or she be placed on the cancellation list. To be fair to all applicants, cancellation places will be assigned in order of the date of placement on the list. If an applicant requires a driving test urgently for employment or emigration purposes, the RSA will make every effort to accommodate that applicant.


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