Thursday, 15 October 2020

Questions (116)

Michael Healy-Rae


116. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Transport if a driver test will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30868/20]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I fully appreciate the difficulty that many learner drivers are experiencing since the driving test for cars, vans and minibuses resumed on a gradual basis from 16 July last. As you are aware, tests were temporarily suspended due to the Covid 19 emergency and since resuming operations, there has been an increased level of demand. Unfortunately, due to social distancing requirements, normal capacity is considerably reduced and this means that some customers will experience longer waiting times for a test than was the case before the service was suspended.

Those who had appointments cancelled due to Covid 19 are being prioritised in the first instance. Initially, those who are frontline healthcare workers will be deemed eligible for an urgent test slot but the Road Safety Authority is examining ways of increasing the number of tests within the current health constraints and is working in close consultation with my Department on this matter. This includes increasing the number of testing staff to help reduce and, over time, eliminate the backlog.

While I regret the inconvenience caused, public safety is of paramount importance. My officials and I are working hard to ensure that the system returns to normal as soon as possible to allow learner drivers complete their training and, hopefully, pass their test.