Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
27. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consideration has been given to the establishment of an additional driving test centre in south Dublin, given that there are more than 14,000 persons on the list to take a test for a driving licence in Tallaght. [2214/23]
The operation of the national driving test service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). Therefore I have referred the Deputy's specific questions to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.
I am aware of the significant backlog in the driver testing service, however, I would like to assure the Deputy that the RSA is endeavouring to manage the demand pressures and required resourcing.
I am told that there has been an increase in application volumes with learners becoming eligible to take their driving test since the start of 2022. This is a consequence of the economy once again reopening following the COVID pandemic. Many learners who availed of increased capacity in the Driver Theory Test are now becoming eligible for their driving test, resulting in increased demand.
In order to alleviate the backlog in driver testing, the RSA conducted a review of the current and evolving needs of the service in 2022. This review recommended that the number of permanent driver testers employed by the RSA should be raised from 100 to 130. Following a successful recruitment campaign, the RSA has deployed the majority of the 30 candidates recruited across the driver testing service with a focus on those geographical areas with the longest waiting times.
The RSA has assured me that they are keeping the situation under constant review and is in the process of setting out a plan for what is needed to continue reducing waiting times. I have asked the RSA to report back to my department on this plan and its implementation as soon as possible. If sanction requests for further increases in driver testers are received, my Department will evaluate them promptly.