Written Answers. - Driving Tests.

Theresa Ahearn

Question:

116 Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for the Environment the names of the driving test inspectors in South County Tipperary; the age profile and sex of persons who failed their driving tests during this period; the most common driving fault of those taking the test in view of the high failure rate in driving tests in South County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8553/96]

Driver tests in Clonmel and Tipperary and in other centres in the south-eastern region are conducted by a team of eight driver testers. In addition, the chief tester and the regional supervisor have carried out tests in these centres. While the tester involved in any particular case signs the pass/fail certificate given to the applicant, I do not think that it would be appropriate to publicise the names of the individual testers assigned to an area at a particular time.

In the year to 24 March 1996, the failure rates for males and females in Clonmel were 46.8 per cent and 47.5 per cent, respectively. The failure rates in Tipperary were 53.5 per cent and 59.0 per cent, respectively. The breakdown by age group was as follows:

Age Group (years)

Clonmel (%)

Tipperary (%)

16-21

47.5

59.5

22-25

46.2

51.5

26 and over

47.8

56.4

Overall

47.1

55.6

Generally, the most common faults resulting in test failure are inadequate observation; incorrect position on roads; inadequate use, or lack of use, of mirrors and signals; inadequate reaction to hazards; inadequate progress; and incorrect use of vehicle controls.
The situation in the Tipperary centre is being closely monitored, and some testing has been carried out there in recent months by experienced supervisory staff to establish the underlying causes of the high failure rates. Some recurring faults, notably a failure to take adequate observation at junctions and roundabouts, have already been brought to the notice of professional instructors locally and some improvement in test performance has since become evident. The position will continue to be kept under review.