Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
975. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the arrangements in place to provide persons with provisional dates for when they can take their driver test (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5718/20]
The driving test, like other public services provided by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), has been temporarily closed for public health reasons during the COVID crisis.
The RSA undertook the appropriate risk assessments and is satisfied that it cannot, bearing in mind its responsibility for the health and safety of its employees and the general public, undertake category B (car) driving tests on an emergency basis at this time. In particular, a driver tester would be required to be within a two metre distance continuously for a period in excess of 20 minutes. They have looked at a number of approaches to mitigate this but have not identified a means to do within the public health guidance in force, and regrettably they have been unable to carry out car driving tests on an emergency basis.
However, it may be possible to carry out driving tests in other categories of vehicles, like ambulances or buses, and the RSA assesses these on a case-by-case basis.
The RSA is currently working, in consultation with my Department, on plans for the resumption of the range of public services and functions for which it is responsible, following the publications of the Government roadmap and, more recently, the National Return to Work Safely Protocol agreed by employer and trade union representatives. Until a date has been agreed with the relevant authorities whereby driver testing can be carried out safely and in accordance with the public health requirements, there is little point in providing provisional test dates. The RSA has always provided urgent tests where the circumstances warrant it, and I expect this to be the case when the service is allowed to reopen.