Wednesday, 19 May 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
78. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the website of the Road Safety Authority is giving appointment confirmation dates in the near future for driver theory tests despite the service currently being suspended; if he will ensure the speedy resumption of these tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26773/21]
I wish to thank the Deputy for bringing the matter regarding the Driver Theory Test website to my attention. The Road Safety Authority (RSA), the body responsible for the operation of the Theory Test, have confirmed to my Department that this was a temporary technical error that occurred and has since been resolved.
The Driver Theory Test is considered a non-essential service and remains closed for now until an appropriate phase of the Government's plans. The Department understands the frustration at this decision, however, these restrictions imposed by the Government based on the advice of NPHET and their panel of scientific experts, are in place to minimize the impact of Covid-19 on this country and its people.
Officials both in this Department and in the Road Safety Authority are keeping the public health situation under constant review and are working extremely hard to ensure that Theory Tests can resume as soon as it is safe to do so.
Because the service was closed for long periods of time over the last year, a large backlog of customers has built up. To deal with the backlog, the RSA have plans to increase capacity when it is allowed to re-open. This additional capacity will see the number of tests increase from an average pre Covid19 output of 15,000 tests per month to 50,000 per month. This will help significantly to tackle the backlog.
The RSA is working to deliver an online driver theory test service. A pilot online driver theory test is underway for trucks and buses. This will be extended to car drivers when services resume, initially with 3,200 online tests being conducted per month. Online services will be made more widely available towards the end of 2021.