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Driver Test

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 20 October 2020

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Ceisteanna (188)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

188. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport if he will consider and issue a statement regarding driver test waiting times (details supplied) in County Kerry. [31727/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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.

My Department is remaining in close contact with the RSA who are examining ways of increasing the number of tests within the current health constraints. I am pleased to say, my Department has already given approval to the RSA to retain 18 driver testers on temporary contracts due to expire in October and November, and to rehire up to 19 testers whose contracts expired in May. The authority is also examining the recruitment and training of new driver testers. However, I would like to stress that many of the issues impacting on the delivery of service are concerned with the throughput of centres themselves in light of the restrictions, rather than on the availability of staff.

The RSA are also looking at a number of other measures, including whether the number of tests a driver tester can perform each day can be increased and scheduling additional overtime tests, including testing on Saturdays to increase capacity.

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.

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