I propose to take Questions Nos. 86, 95, 115, 116 and 136 together.
I refer the Deputies to my reply to Priority Question No. 80 on today's Order Paper which refers to the question of changes to the provisional driver licence system.
In relation to statistics on provisional driving licences, the Department of the Environment and Local Government, which holds and administers the national driver file, has advised me that the number of current provisional licences as at the end of October 2002 is 359,400. More up to date statistics are not immediately available.
Some of the licences would be for multiple categories of vehicle and categories may have been added to the licences at different dates. I will arrange to have a briefing note on the numbers of licences, including the numbers who hold first, second, third or subsequent provisional licences, forwarded to the Deputy concerned.
Learner drivers must pass the driving test in order to be eligible for a driving licence. While the current level of applications for the driving test and the resultant backlog is unprecedented, the capacity of the driving test service to deliver tests has increased significantly in recent years. I am considering, in consultation with the Minister for Finance, what other measures can be taken to enable tests to be offered within the shortest possible time.