Thursday, 16 September 2021

Questions (189)

Sorca Clarke


189. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Transport his plans to deal with the backlog in driver theory tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44407/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

Under legislation, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has all functions relating to driver testing, including all matters relating to the operation of the driving theory test.

The Driver Theory Test service has significantly increased its capacity since it reopened in June 2021.

The number of tests provided has now increased from an average pre Covid19 level of 15,000 to over 25,000 appointments monthly. This number continues to increase and almost 50,000 tests were provided during the month of August.

The RSA has also been working to extend its online theory testing service. The new offering will see up to 10,000 online theory tests available for all categories of vehicles per month. Tests are available on a first-come-first-served basis with the new online service becoming more widely available later in the year.

 However, it is disappointing that 1 in 6 customers are failing to show up for their Driver Theory Test. The RSA would ask any customer that is unable to attend for their test to let the Driver Theory Test service know in plenty of time so the appointment can be allocated to another candidate who needs a test.

The Department and the RSA are very conscious of the significant number of people waiting to take their tests. Every possible measure is being put in place to ensure that the maximum number of customers can be served while public health guidance is strictly adhered to. The public’s continued patience and understanding is requested as plans are put in place to safely and gradually increase capacity.