Tuesday, 17 May 2005
Department of Transport
Question 224: To ask the Minister for Transport if the existing information technology systems used by the driving testing system will be overhauled; if so, the total cost he envisages for this project; when he anticipates this upgrade will be on-stream; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16104/05]
My Department is already in the process of evaluating the IT needs of the driver testing service. When this is complete it is proposed to install a new IT system the procurement of which will be subject to a tender process.
Question 225: To ask the Minister for Transport if the range of duties proposed as part of the responsibilities undertaken by the Driver Testing and Standards Authority will be expanded; the consideration he has given to the recommendation that he should establish a road safety authority instead of the proposed structure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16105/05]
I will shortly bring proposals to Government about additional functions that I believe should be assigned to the Driver Testing and Standards Authority. These additional functions will give the authority a greater focus in relation to its role in the area of road safety. I will be bringing forward appropriate amendments to the Driver Testing and Standards Authority Bill 2004 on Committee Stage to give effect to these changes.
Driving tests are conducted on Saturdays. My Department is in consultation with staff representatives about a package of measures to reduce the numbers waiting for a driving test and it is envisaged that these measures will include increased productivity by way of additional evening and weekend tests.
Question 227: To ask the Minister for Transport the measures he intends to pursue to encourage driving test applicants to obtain driving instruction prior to sitting their test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16107/05]
I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 358 on 8 February 2005. The Government's strategy for road safety 2004-06 identified speed, seat-belt wearing, driving while intoxicated, engineering measures and vulnerable road users as being the key priority areas to be addressed over the coming years in terms of yielding road safety benefits. As regards motorcyclists, over the course of the strategy it is the intention to introduce compulsory initial practical training for motorcyclists before they are permitted to drive alone on a public road. There are no proposals to introduce such compulsory training for other learner drivers. Proposals being developed by my Department for the regulation and quality assurance of driving instruction will involve a test of the competence of individual instructors and will ensure the availability of a high standard of instruction to learner drivers.