Written Answers. - Driving Tests.

Seán Ryan

Question:

37 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the number of applicants awaiting a driving test at the latest date for which figures are available; the average length of the waiting time for a test at each centre; the reasons for the long delays; the steps being taken to reduce the waiting time for tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10037/00]

Some 91,100 applicants are awaiting driving tests. Of these, approximately 25,400 have been given test appointments and a further 15,900 have indicated that they are not available to be tested. The average longest waiting time nationally is some 30 weeks, a reduction of ten weeks relative to the same period in 1999. However, applicants who require a test for urgent reasons are being given earlier appointments. About 24% of applicants are tested within 15 weeks.

Average waiting times have not been compiled for each centre due to limitations in the IT systems involved. However, the tabular statement below sets out the longest waiting time for each centre.

In 1999 an all time record of 154,000 test applications were made to my Department, compared with 118,000 applications in 1997. Applications for the early part of this year are running at 15% above the numbers received in the equivalent period in 1999.

Significant additional resources have been allocated to the driver testing service, which now numbers 101 testers compared to 66 in 1998. Together with productivity agreements and Saturday working, this has increased the testing capacity of the service to some 200,000 tests annually. Two new test centres have been provided in Tallaght and Raheny.
I am determined to promote improvement of the driving test service and to end current excessive and unacceptable waiting times. A maximum waiting period of ten weeks is being targeted by the end of this year.

Test Centre

Longest waiting period (weeks)

Nth. Leinster Region

Finglas/Raheny

46

Dundalk

15

Mullingar

24

Navan

18

Sth. Leinster Region

Churchtown/Rathgar/Tallaght

41

Gorey

19

Naas

37

Tullamore

14

Wicklow

23

West Region

Athlone

25

Birr

27

Castlebar

37

Clifden

29

Ennis

22

Galway

30

Loughrea

25

Roscommon

31

Tuam

30

Nth. West Region

Ballina

24

Buncrana

20

Ck-on-Shannon

21

Cavan

23

Donegal

22

Letterkenny

36

Longford

25

Monaghan

22

Sligo

24

Sth. East Region

Carlow

25

Clonmel

30

Dungarvan

30

Kilkenny

37

Nenagh

29

Portlaoise

22

Thurles

30

Tipperary

29

Waterford

26

Wexford

37

Sth. West Region

Cork

46

Killarney

36

Kilrush

37

Limerick

35

Mallow

40

Newcastle West

44

Shannon

42

Skibereen

42

Tralee

37

Overall Average

29.7