Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Ceisteanna (74, 75)

Seán Canney

Ceist:

74. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Transport when he plans to open up the centres for theory tests for car driving licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24847/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

75. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Transport when the driver theory testing section will open for persons to sit the test given that persons are getting cancellations month after month and being asked to drive from one end of the country to the other to find a vacancy; if he will direct the section that the test be done online to facilitate persons waiting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24858/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 75 together.

The Driver Theory Test is considered a non-essential service and remains closed for now. The Department understands the frustration at this decision, however, these restrictions imposed by the Government based on the advice of NPHET and their panel of scientific experts, are in place to minimize the impact of Covid-19 on this country and its people.

Officials both in this Department and in the Road Safety Authority are keeping the public health situation under constant review and are working extremely hard to ensure that Theory Tests can resume as soon as it is safe to do so.

Because the service was closed for long periods of time over the last year, a large backlog of customers has built up. To deal with the backlog, the RSA have plans to increase capacity when it is allowed to re-open. This additional capacity will see the number of tests increase from an average pre Covid19 output of 15,000 tests per month to 50,000 per month. This will help significantly to tackle the backlog.

The RSA is working to deliver an online driver theory test service. A pilot online driver theory test is underway for trucks and buses. This will be extended to car drivers in the coming weeks, initially with 3,200 online tests being conducted per month. Online services will be made more widely available towards the end of 2021.

Regarding driving licences, National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centres will continue to remain open for essential workers only until 17 May, when they will re-open for all customers. NDLS customers who have a Public Services Card or MyGovID can apply online at ndls.ie.

Question No. 75 answered with Question No. 74.