Written Answers. - Driving Tests.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

52 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the number of persons awaiting driving tests in Cork city and county for each of the years from 1 March 1996 to 1 March 2000; the number of driver testers allocated to Cork for each of those years; and the plans, if any, to address the situation. [9762/00]

The information regarding persons awaiting driving tests in Cork city and county is set out in the following table.

Persons awaiting driving tests at 1 March (approx)

Test Centre

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

Cork City

2,104

2,778

3,931

6,720

7,871

Mallow

633

737

1,008

1,710

1,791

Skibbereen

580

901

974

1,624

1,737

Total

3,317

4,416

5,913

10, 054

11,399

Driver testers are assigned on a regional basis and deployed to test centres within each region. There are currently 17.5 driver testers assigned to the south west region which covers the counties of Cork, Kerry and Limerick. The average number of testers allocated to the test centres in County Cork during the years in question is set out in tabular form below together with the number of testers, on average, assigned to the south west region:–

Allocation of Driver Testers

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

Assigned to SW Region

11

13

14

16

17.5

Average Testers allocated to County Cork

6

6

6

7

9

Very 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 to some 200,000 tests annually. I am determined to promote improvement of the driving test service and to end present excessive and unacceptable waiting times. A maximum waiting period of ten weeks is being targeted by the end of this year.