Urgent action needed to address Driving Test backlog – Matt Carthy TD
Local Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has called on the government to take urgent action to address the backlog for driving tests.
Carthy highlighted that as of the end of January, the test backlog for Cavan-Monaghan was nearly 2,000 people were either eligible to tested, or in the process of completing their lessons. He called for a suite of measures to be implemented to address the backlog expected to have significantly exceeded 2,000 in the coming weeks, saying:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the driving test system into disarray, but Minister Eamon Ryan’s lack of action has worsened the situation.
“Changes must be made as soon as possible to relieve the burden on the system and ensure that people can get their driver’s license in a reasonable amount of time in the coming months.
“According to the most recent statistics, 98,414 people are waiting to take their driving test, with another 79,276 waiting to take the Driver Theory Test when restrictions are lifted to allow this.
“These figures would see people facing a 7-month wait.
“Sinn Féin has put forward a number of initiatives that we believe will assist in resolving this escalating problem.
“The RSA sought permission to recruit 80 more testers in October of last year. Despite this, only 40 have been authorised, and they are still not in place. It is critical that the Department of Transportation authorize the proposed number of 80 additional workers in full, and resource the RSA to have them in place as soon as possible.
“In order to address the massive backlog, the RSA should consider longer opening hours and allowing more tests per day to be conducted when tests resume.
“With regards to the Driver Theory Test waiting list, we believe that this exam should now be made available online, enabling people to take it from anywhere in the world.
“Remote theory tests are currently available from the Driver Theory Test Service for the bus, truck, CPC, and ADI groups. This is a positive step forward, but it is important that it be expanded to those learning to drive in general.
“Despite the fact that important staff are allowed to take their driving test during Level 5, they are not allowed to take lessons except for one pre-test class.
“This has to change because it prevents important staff from obtaining their driver’s licenses and getting to work because you can’t take your driving test until you’ve completed 12 mandatory EDT lessons.
“Essential workers should be permitted to take lessons during Level 5, so that they can take their test.
“Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) should be supplied with high-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe while on the job.
“Sinn Féin have sought clarification concerning the status of ADIs on the vaccination roll-out list as they’ve been at work the throughout the pandemic and are in near proximity to others in a small room.
“These measures, collectively, can assist in resolving the driving test backlog and must be considered by government as a matter of priority. The alternative will mean that we are facing chaos following the easing of restrictions and this scenario can and must be avoided”.