Written answers

Tuesday, 4 May 2004

8:00 pm

Photo of Olwyn EnrightOlwyn Enright (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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Question 55: To ask the Minister for Transport his plans to address the driving test backlog; when he plans to introduce legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10987/04]

John Bruton (Meath, Fine Gael)
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Question 74: To ask the Minister for Transport the plans if any he has to address the driving test backlog; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11006/04]

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)
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Question 88: To ask the Minister for Transport the number of persons awaiting driving tests at the latest date for which figures are available; the current waiting time in each test centre; the efforts he and his Department are making to clear the backlog of driving test applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12531/04]

Photo of Séamus BrennanSéamus Brennan (Minister, Department of Transport; Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 55, 74 and 88 together.

The number of applicants awaiting a driving test at 26 April 2004 is 120,541. Of these, 17,446 have been given test appointments and a further 13,835 have indicated that they are currently not available to be tested. The current average waiting time and numbers awaiting a test at each driving test centre as at 26 April 2004 are set out in the following table.

The current waiting times are due to the unprecedented level of some 234,000 test applications received in 2003. This represents a 21% increase on 2002 applications. However, indications are that applications have now fallen to normally expected levels and I anticipate that the current waiting times will improve over the coming year.

Sanction for a bonus scheme for driver testers was obtained from the Department of Finance in May 2003. Under the terms of the scheme set out by the Department of Finance, the bonus scheme terminated in November 2003. The potential for initiating a further bonus scheme in order to address the backlog is being investigated. In addition to the bonus scheme, eight retired driver testers were re-employed with effect from 13 October 2003. Driver testers continue to deliver additional tests by working overtime on Saturdays and at lunchtime.

Preparation of legislation to establish the driver testing and standards authority, which will take on responsibility for conducting driving tests and will have more flexibility to respond to variations in demand, is at an advanced stage and I expect to be in a position to submit the text of the Bill to Government shortly.

Centre Numbers Awaiting a Test Average Weeks Waiting
North Leinster
Finglas 8,683 28
Dundalk 2,827 35
Mullingar 1,661 32
Navan 4,500 43
Raheny 7,812 39
South Leinster
Churchtown /Rathgar 11,275 41
Gorey 2.022 44
Naas 6,839 46
Tullamore 1,717 32
Wicklow 2,354 46
Tallaght 8,960 47
South East
Carlow 2,623 43
Clonmel 2,032 44
Dungarvan 1,923 46
Kilkenny 2,378 45
Nenagh 760 38
Portlaoise 1,624 49
Thurles 1,254 51
Tipperary 1,139 51
Waterford 3,601 30
Wexford 2,430 27
South West
Cork 6,613 26
Killarney 2,030 32
Kilrush 528 23
Limerick 4,019 39
Mallow 2,076 32
Newcastle West 1,678 28
Shannon 994 40
Skibbereen 1,885 34
Tralee 1,956 37
West
Athlone 1,080 14
Birr 1,126 32
Castlebar 2,143 32
Clifden358 16
Ennis 908 11
Galway 2,781 29
Loughrea 856 12
Roscommon 1,028 24
Tuam 1,143 27
North West
Ballina 1,170 33
Buncrana 591 22
Carrick-on-Shannon 1,265 35
Cavan 1,927 43
Donegal 1,051 23
Letterkenny 1,997 36
Longford 988 35
Monaghan 1,266 40
Sligo 1,393 31
Note: the average waiting time is derived having regard to waiting times experienced by individual applicants who have undergone a driving test over the previous four week period in the test centre.

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