Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (87)

Christopher O'Sullivan


87. Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport the action being taken to clear the growing backlog of driver theory tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2487/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Under current level 5 restrictions, the Driver Theory Test has not been deemed to be an essential service. As a consequence, the service is closed while level 5 restrictions remain in place. While I regret the inconvenience caused, I think you will agree with me that this decision was necessary for public health reasons.

The Road Safety Authority has advised my office that it is engaging with its service provider to maximise capacity to offer tests while adhering to occupational and public health requirements for when servicers are resumed. In this regard, they would, for example, be opening on additional days at some centres and extended hours also provided to allow additional capacity for appointments.

The Driver Theory Test service has launched a pilot phase of a new initiative, which offers a Remote Testing service for specific categories of Theory Test (C, D, CD, BMT, TMT, ADI, CPCB, CPCT). Following a review of the pilot phase, I understand the RSA expect the initiative to be extended for car and motorcycles in the future. As remote testing facilitates additional capacity whilst also enabling the service to continue in the event of further lockdowns, it would be expected this would greatly help in returning the service to normal waiting times.

The safety of the public is of paramount importance at this time. In all aspects of the Covid-19 crisis, my Department continues to be guided by National Public Health Emergency Team and the relevant national experts in relation to the provision of services.