Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
107. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his attention has been drawn to the impact of the lack of adequate truck-driver testing facilities in north County Kildare on jobs, employment and incomes given that the area is an important centre of retail and industrial warehousing and logistics. [43898/20]
The Road Safety Authority has the statutory responsibility for driver testing, under the auspices of the Minister and Department of Transport. That responsibility includes decisions on the location and resourcing of driver testing facilities, in North Kildare and elsewhere in the country.
It is important to place any concerns about driver testing availability in the wider context of the necessary responses to the Covid pandemic. Covid restrictions have meant that, since reopening on 29 June, test centres, in Kildare North and elsewhere, can take fewer test candidates than previously.
Prior to the Covid restrictions, it was normal for a driving tester to complete tests with 8 applicants per day. That fell to five per day on reopening. The RSA is taking measures to increase test rates and reduce waiting times for test applicants. The rate had increased to 6 tests per day in September and is expected to increase further to 7 per day by February 2021.
Reducing current backlogs, in Kildare North and elsewhere, will not be an “easy fix”. The RSA anticipate that by the end of 2021 or early 2022 the backlogs will be under control.
Transport, warehousing and logistics sector are vitally important, not just in Kildare North but throughout the country. An effective logistics sector is essential to the efficient operation of the businesses and the economy. The RSA prioritises essential workers, including freight delivery drivers. Essential workers are placed on a short list and may be called by the RSA with as little as one day’s notice.