Driving Test Regulations

Questions (623, 652)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

623. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport if he will appoint external auditors to certify that the knowledge tests currently being undertaken by those applicants requiring SPSV licences are accurate and that the replies which are being offered in the multiple choice elements are correct; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14804/14]

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Peadar Tóibín

Question:

652. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport if he will detail the questions which were answered correctly and incorrectly by a person (details supplied) in their last taxi test. [15359/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 623 and 652 together.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry under the provisions of the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009, including responsibility for administering the SPSV Entry Test, which includes both the Industry Knowledge and the Area Knowledge Tests.

I have referred the Deputies' questions to the NTA for direct reply. Will they please advise my private office if they do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Road Projects

Questions (624)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

624. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department has received plans from Donegal County Council for a new bridge at Cockhill, Buncrana, County Donegal; and if he will provide the funding for same. [14808/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is a matter for the local authority.

Donegal County Council applied to the Department in 2010 for funding under the Specific Improvement Grant Scheme for funds for the Cockhill Bridge Scheme. The projected cost of the project was €2.95m. Given the costs associated with the project it was not possible to approve this application and no further formal funding application or plans have been received by my Department.

Given the need to prioritise funding for repair and strengthening works, the Specific Improvement Grants Scheme has been curtailed in 2014. While provision has been made for bridge repair and rehabilitation works I understand that the Cockhill Bridge proposal as submitted in 2010 is outside the scope of such works as it involves major widening works.

It is important to reiterate that the role of the Exchequer grant aid is to supplement Councils' own resource spending on regional and local roads.

Road Projects

Questions (625)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

625. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department has received plans from Donegal County Council for a new bypass at Bonagee, Letterkenny, County Donegal; and if he intends to provide funding for same. [14809/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.    Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with section 19 of the Roads Act.   Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's questions to the NRA for direct reply. Will the Deputy please advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Road Projects

Questions (626)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

626. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he plans to provide funding for an upgrade to the N14 Letterkenny to Lifford Road, County Donegal, as requested by Donegal County Council. [14810/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.    Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with section 19 of the Roads Act.   Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NRA for direct reply. Will he please advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Departmental Funding

Questions (627)

John O'Mahony

Question:

627. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of funding allocated by his Department in County Mayo, the list of projects that benefitted in 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14898/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The amount of funding allocated to County Mayo is contained in the following table.

Year

Project

Funding (€)

2010

Cycle Route Projects

2,325,000

2010

National Cycle Network

620,000

2010

Demo

25,791

2011

Jobs Initiative Round 1

194,300

2011

Jobs Initiative Round 2

110,883

2011

Jobs Initiative Round 3

88,832

2012

Jobs Initiative Smarter Travel Areas

155,000

2012

Active Travel Towns

125,000

2012

National Cycle Network

725,000

2012/2016

Smarter Travel Areas

5,500,000

2013

*Regional Airports Programme

Ireland West Airport Knock

2,667,599

2012

*Regional Airports Programme

Ireland West Airport Knock

1,288,651

2011

*Regional Airports Programme

Ireland West Airport Knock

665,189

2013

**Mayo County Council

29,412

2013

**Mayo County Council

29,412

2014 (to date)

*Regional Airports Programme

Ireland West Airport Knock

603,831

*Details of the specific projects aided under this Programme are available from Ireland West Airport Knock

**These two allocations were made in respect of the Sports Capital Programme in 2013. There have not been any allocations in 2014. Details of all Sports Capital Programme allocations from 2011 and 2012 are published on the Department's website. 

Heavy rail infrastructural investments outside the GDA

The vast bulk of Exchequer funding to Iarnród Éireann for works outside the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) was allocated under the Railway Safety Programme (RSP) 2007-2013. This was provided on a network-wide programme basis rather than specifically allocated to any particular region. Under the RSP approximately €100m has been spent annually on renewing and maintaining the entire railway network. Apart from the RSP there were some smaller-scale infrastructure programmes, such as the Road-Crossing Automation Programme and the installation of Automatic Ticket Vending Machines programme. For the 2014-2018 period, funding for the Iarnród Éireann renewals and maintenance programme comes under the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract (IMMAC).

Details of the regional and local road grant payments to Mayo County Council, including lists of projects, are outlined in the regional and local road grant payment booklets which are available in the Dáil Library.  Details of the 2014 regional and local road grant allocations and projects to each county council are also available in the Dáil library.

With regard to national roads, details of the allocations, including lists of projects, to each local authority are also available in the Dáil library.  However, details of the actual drawdown of funding for these roads is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA).  I have referred your query to the NRA for direct reply.  Please advise my office if you have not received a response within ten days.

Similarly, allocations under the Tourism Product Development Scheme, administered by Fáilte Ireland, are a matter for the board of Fáilte Ireland. I have referred the Deputy's query to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Will he please advise my office if he has not received a response within ten days.

National Car Test

Questions (628)

Denis Naughten

Question:

628. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the average waiting time for the national car test; the legal position of drivers who are not in possession of a relevant certificate but who have secured a test date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14944/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006) the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has responsibility for the delivery of the National Car Test. Therefore I have forwarded the Deputy's question in relating to NCT average waiting time to the RSA for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

With regard to the legal position in relation to drivers who are not in possession of a relevant NCT certificate, section 18 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 as amended, clearly places the onus on the driver and vehicle owner to ensure that a vehicle being driven in a public place has an NCT certificate.

Under section 18(2) of the 1961 Act, both the driver and owner of a vehicle which is being driven in a public place without a valid NCT certificate shall each be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,000 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

Under section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 (as amended by Section 19 Road Traffic Act 2006) a member of An Garda Síochána may seize a vehicle being used in a public place without proof of passing a road worthiness test.

 

Driver Licence Renewals

Questions (629)

Denis Naughten

Question:

629. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the average waiting time for the processing of driving licence renewals; the legal position of drivers who are not in possession of a current licence as a result of these delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14945/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The processing of driving licence applications is the responsibility of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), through the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS). 

There were delays in the early days of the NDLS as a result of a number of issues.  While these have now been largely dealt with, a large backlog had built up, and the NDLS has been engaged in reducing this over time.  I understand from the RSA that the worst of the delays referred to is over, and that licence applications which are in order are being processed in eight to 13 days.  The RSA informs me that this will reduce to a five to eight day period this month.

People who, as a result of delays, do not have a licence which they can produce, are permitted to drive while their licence renewal is in process.  The RSA informs me that it is considering whether to return old licences to applicants, once their validity has been established as part of the renewal process. 

In the meantime, it is a matter for members of An Garda Síochána to exercise discretion when requesting a driver to produce a licence, given the widespread realisation that there have been delays in the licensing system.

 

Public Transport

Questions (630)

Seán Kenny

Question:

630. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will contact the CEO of Iarnród Éireann regarding a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14960/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Will he please advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

Public Transport

Questions (631)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

631. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to extend the bus service to the area of Clonaugh, Maynooth, County Kildare in view of the local demand for such a bus service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14971/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Will he please advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within ten working days.

Driver Licences

Questions (632)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

632. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the case of a person who has had a newly issued driving licence lost or stolen, if he or she is required to undergo a further medical check and certification in order to obtain a replacement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14976/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

When a licence is lost or stolen, the holder must apply for a replacement using the standard form for a licence application.  No medical certificate is necessary, as the licence in question will be for the same period as the lost or stolen licence, and the NDLS will already have received a medical certificate, if required, for that period, before issuing the original licence.

Information on this and other driver licensing matters is publicly available on the website of the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS).

Road Safety

Questions (633)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

633. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider making it mandatory for dash cameras to be attached to the front and rear of all motor vehicles to monitor and regulate speeding and ensure safer driving conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15038/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Action 64 of the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020 commits the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to 'research emerging in-road and in-vehicle road safety technologies and make recommendations on their introduction'.  Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), which includes devices that assist drivers comply with speed limits, is being researched by the RSA and this has also been identified as a priority by the Speed Limit Review Group.  

While the mandatory fitment of camera systems that continually record is not prohibited by road traffic legislation, I am advised that many factors must be considered before making recommendations for mandatory fitment. I am aware that some HGV operators use vision enhancement techniques such as camera and radar technologies which afford a view of a nearside blind spot when turning, and these can be effective in alerting drivers to the presence of cyclists in particular.

Of course, in relation to the dash cameras referred to by the Deputy, correct fitment of such devices would have to be ensured so that they did not interfere with a vehicle's controls, or distract the driver; data protection issues relating to the recording of other road users would have to be considered; and finally type approval for the fitment of such devices into new cars would need to be addressed.

My Department will continue to liaise with the RSA in relation to Action 64.

Driver Licence Data

Questions (634)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

634. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount the National Driver Licence Service charges to respond to a query from an applicant on the status of an application; who pays for any such charges; the amount the National Driver Licence Service has claimed for such charges since it assumed responsibility for the issuing of driver licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15067/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority.  I have therefore forwarded the question to the Authority for direct reply.  I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

Pilot Training Courses

Questions (635)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

635. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the stage he has reached in the process of establishing a bonding scheme which would protect students training to be pilots and protect them against a similar loss to that experienced by students of the Pilot Training College, Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15068/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The failure of the Pilot Training College Waterford, a privately-owned and operated flight training school, to meet its contractual obligations to its students  was disgraceful and I have every sympathy for the students and their families who suffered considerable losses following the collapse of the college.  

Similar difficulties have been  experienced in some other EU Member States with their flight training schools.  It has been suggested that a bonding scheme should be implemented to protect students against such losses in future but some concerns have been expressed that this would increase costs in the sector and dissuade such organisations from remaining or establishing themselves in Ireland as such schemes are not mandatorily imposed elsewhere. The regulation of pilot training matters, including the approval of flight training organisations by national regulatory authorities, are governed by EU rules.  To avoid any competitive distortions in the pilot training market in the EU, any consumer protection measures such as bonding of flight schools, should be dealt with at a European level rather than at a national level. At present, most schools require trainees to pay in quarterly or monthly instalments rather than 'up front' as was the case in Waterford.

 

Road Safety

Questions (636)

James Bannon

Question:

636. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will carry out a safety audit on the N4 between Mullingar and Rooskey on how adequate the route is to cater for its current volume of traffic, with particular reference to the need to achieve best practice in respect of health and safety standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15168/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and  funding in relation to the national roads programme. The construction, improvement and maintenance of individual national roads, is a matter for the National Roads Authority under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Noting this I have referred the Deputy's question to the NRA for direct reply. Will the Deputy please advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within 10 working days.

Road Traffic Legislation

Questions (637)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

637. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider the possibility of amending legislation which currently blocks the use of small vehicles like the tuk-tuk or autorickshaw from being used to transport members of the public as part of scheduled routed tours. [15182/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I met with an interested party last week in relation to a proposal to introduce electric tuk tuk tours, aimed at the tourist market, to Dublin and the National Transport Authority (NTA) also held a meeting regarding this proposal. The NTA advised the interested party that vehicles of this nature do not meet the requirements of the Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) regulations in a number of respects.

I understand that the NTA is open to examining the issues around making regulations to establish a new category of SPSV licence to cater for situations where non-standard taxi, hackney, limousine services are in contemplation. The NTA has suggested that interested parties meet with the Taxi Advisory Committee who advise the NTA on such matters.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (638)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

638. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he supports a reduction of standards in place for wheelchair accessible SPSVs and the proposal that back-loading wheelchair accessible taxis could be used as a cheaper option to current models. [15187/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The regulation of the taxi industry, including issues pertaining to the standards of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs), is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009. The NTA is the lead agency with responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Taxi Regulation Review Report 2011.

The Taxi Regulation Review made a number of recommendations aimed at addressing the lack of availability of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) to meet the transport requirements of people with a disability and reduced mobility. In particular, Action 20 recommended a review of existing specifications for WAVs to establish whether an adjustment to the current WAV standards would assist in increasing the supply and availability of WAVs.

The Taxi Regulation Act 2013 was signed into law on 23rd of October 2013 and while most of its provisions have yet to be commenced, the NTA has prepared draft regulations under the Act that will introduce some new measures, as well as consolidating and replacing the existing regulations. The draft regulations, including provisions relating to vehicle standards for WAVs aimed at introducing a wider range of lower cost vehicles thereby assisting in supply and availability, were the subject of a public consultation process that concluded on 31st January 2014.

It is expected that the new regulations will be introduced in tandem with the commencement of the Act in April 2014.

I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for direct reply. Will the Deputy please advise my private office if he does not receive a response within ten working days.