Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Driver Test

Photo of Michael LowryMichael Lowry (Tipperary, Independent)
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192. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the waiting times for B category vehicle driving tests at all testing centres in County Tipperary, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2667/23]

Photo of Michael LowryMichael Lowry (Tipperary, Independent)
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193. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of persons awaiting B category driving test in each testing centre in County Tipperary, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2668/23]

Photo of Michael LowryMichael Lowry (Tipperary, Independent)
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194. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to delays in obtaining a driving test for B category vehicles in County Tipperary; if additional driver testers resources will be allocated to each driving test centre in County Tipperary in order to clear the backlog of those waiting for B category driving tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2669/23]

Photo of Michael LowryMichael Lowry (Tipperary, Independent)
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195. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of full-time equivalent and part-time driver testers available in each testing centre in County Tipperary who are available to test those completing B category driving tests, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2670/23]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 192 to 195, inclusive, together.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has statutory responsibility for the operation of the national driving test and deals with all application and scheduling matters. I have therefore referred the specific parts of the questions related to category B tests in Tipperary to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply is not received within 10 days.

On the broader issue of driver testing delays, I am informed that the current increase in demand for driving tests and the time to invitation for learner drivers has a number of contributing factors which include: an increase in learner permits in circulation which has grown by about 30% since Q3 2019; increased capacity in the Driver Theory Test when the service resumed post Covid-19 pandemic and an increase in Advanced Driving Instructors capacity to deliver lessons to learner drivers which has increased the volume of learners becoming eligible and ready to take their actual test.

I would like to assure the Deputy that the RSA is making every effort to address this issue. The Authority conducted a review of the current and evolving needs of the driver testing service in 2022, following which my Department sanctioned an increase in the permanent driver tester headcount from 100 to 130.

I am informed that the RSA is currently deploying a number of successful candidates across the driver testing service, with a focus on geographical areas with the longest waiting lists. It is expected that the remainder will be deployed by Q1 2023.

The RSA has assured me that they are keeping the situation under constant review and the Authority will report back to my Department on the steps being taken to continue to reduce waiting times. If sanction requests for further increases in driver testers are received, my Department will evaluate them promptly.

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