asked the Minister for Local Government the average delay in each area between the time an application is made for a driving test and the time such test is taken; and if a re-test has to be taken the average time before such re-test; and, if there is a difference between the delay at different centres.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Driving Tests.
The average delay period for all centres is at present 18½ weeks. Testing schedules are planned so as to keep the delay period at each centre as close to the average as possible but a weekly variation above or below the average cannot be avoided. At the moment, at 36 of the 42 centres, the period lies between 17 and 19 weeks; at Ballina, Castlebar, Dublin and Dungarvan it is 20 weeks and at Carndonagh and Cavan it is 16 weeks.
The same average waiting period applies to re-tests.
Is the Minister aware that as a result of the delay some people have to take out a second provisional licence and that it is costing an excessive amount?
I suppose that happens.
Is that not undesirable?
It is, yes.
What will the Minister do to correct the position?
I cannot get sufficient drivers-testers.
Is the Minister aware that because so many potential drivers are failed for trivial faults the number who need retests is rising very rapidly? Would the Minister advise his testers that if somebody fails because they do not recognise a road sign or something like that when they are under stress it should not be a reason for refusing to grant a licence?
I am aware that the percentage of failures is high but not that they are failed for trivial reasons.
The Minister does not talk to the people who have had tests? Has he discussed this with any of them?
Probably with more than the Deputy.
(Cavan): Will the Minister agree that, while there is a delay of up to five months, as he admits, in getting a test for a Class E licence to drive a large public vehicle, applicants who are waiting for this test for five months are all that time driving large public vehicles conveying children to school? Does he think that reasonable and could he explain the apparent discrepancy?
You could not possibly be in a position to test everybody when they apply. It is inevitable that there will be some waiting period. Every effort is made to keep the waiting period as short as possible.