Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
983. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when driving lessons and driver tests are likely to resume, particularly for persons in circumstances in which a car is necessary for work, under the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business. [5792/20]
The safety of the public is of paramount importance at this time in all aspects of the Covid-19 crisis. My Department is guided by National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and national experts in relation to the resumption of services.
Driving instruction is proved by Instructors who are private individuals either self employed or who are employed by a Driving School.
The RSA cannot issue medical guidance to Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) on COVID 19 and how they operate their businesses. As they are not Road Safety Authority (RSA) employees, ADIs should protect themselves, their families and communities by following the official Government guidelines on hygiene and social distancing. As mostly sole traders each ADI has an individual responsibility for their own welfare and that of their families and customers.
My officials and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are working together on examining the possibility of resumption of the driving tests and other services as soon as is possible in light of the roadmap published by Government and the National Return to Work Safety Protocol. However, the driving test raises problems in terms of compliance with the Protocol in particular social distancing rules which requires the tester and the candidate to be within a 2 metres distance continuously for a period in excess of 20 minutes, in a confined space, which is not in itself a workspace under the control of the RSA.
Bearing this in mind, car driver testing may not be able to resume until in or after Phase 5 of the Government's roadmap.