Thursday, 8 October 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
96. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when a person (details supplied) who is a student nurse on placement in Limerick will receive a date for a driving test; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29370/20]
The scheduling of candidates’ driving tests is the responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and I have no input in this matter.
I am referring the Deputy's question to the RSA for further reply in relation to this specific case, noting that the Deputy has indicated that it appears to relate to an essential worker. Please advise my office if a reply has not been received within 10 days.
While it is the case that a learner driver must be accompanied by a fully licensed driver at all times, there is no requirement in law for driving instructors to attend test centres with learners sitting driving tests. Operational arrangements at test centres are a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred that element of the Deputy's question to the Authority for direct response; please contact my office if no reply has been received within ten working days.
In response to the second issue raised by the Deputy, I should clarify that under provisions set out in S.I. No. 203/2009 - Road Traffic (Driving Instructor Licensing) (No. 2) Regulations 2009 the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is legally required to carry out a check test of an Approved Driving Instructor every two years at the very minimum. This test takes the form of an observation by an RSA examiner of a lesson given by the instructor to a learner driver and is considered an essential element in the regulation and continuous professional development of driving instructors.
Driving is a complex and multifaceted skill and instructors shoulder a considerable responsibility in teaching their students to behave safely and responsibly on the roads at all times. It is for this reason that it is imperative that the RSA have a means of ensuring that all instructors maintain the highest of teaching standards in the years after they have completed their initial qualification.
I must stress that it is equally important that we protect lives and health from both the COVID19 pandemic and the impact of collisions on our roads and that we maintain the standards, whether in public health or in driving standards, that save lives and health.