Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
153. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when driving theory tests will resume; the measures his Department will be taking to clear the backlog of applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28110/21]
The Driver Theory Test is considered a non-essential service and remains closed for now. 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 approximately 15,000 tests per month up 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 shortly, initially with up to 3,200 online tests being conducted per month. Online services will be made more widely available towards the end of 2021.
The driver theory test is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority.
The information requested is held by the Authority and the question is being referred to it for direct reply.
I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.