Mo­torists wait over 13 weeks for driv­ing test

SE­NA­TOR VIC­TOR BOYAN IS CALL­ING ON MIN­IS­TER SHANE ROSS TO RE­DUCE WAIT­ING TIMES FOR TESTS

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

WITH COUNTY WICK­LOW mo­torists wait­ing over 13 weeks for a driv­ing test ap­point­ment, In­de­pen­dent Se­na­tor Vic­tor Boy­han has de­scribed wait­ing times for tests as reach­ing cri­sis point and wants the Min­is­ter for Trans­port, Shane Ross, to in­ter­vene.

Na­tion­ally al­most 83,000 peo­ple are now on the wait­ing list for driv­ing tests, with more than 45,000 still await­ing a test ap­point­ment.

The Road Safety Au­thor­ity (RSA) in­tends to cut down the na­tional av­er­age wait­ing time for a driv­ing test to no longer than ten weeks.

The sole driv­ing test cen­tre in County Wick­low, lo­cated at the Mur­rough in Wick­low town, cur­rently has a wait­ing time of 13.6 weeks ac­cord­ing to the RSA web­site. The long­est wait­ing time ex­pe­ri­enced in Wick­low for car driv­ing tests was 23 weeks.

For a short pe­riod, an emer­gency driv­ing test cen­tre in Bray was es­tab­lished to deal with a con­sid­er­able back­log but it’s no longer in ex­is­tence.

Across the coun­try the av­er­age wait­ing time in test cen­tres varies from nine weeks up to 16 in Kil­lar­ney and Mon­aghan.

Se­na­tor Boy­han is adamant that Min­is­ter Ross needs to act in or­der to lessen the wait­ing times for learner drivers.

‘Many young peo­ple and fam­i­lies are now pre­par­ing for the new third-level term and get­ting back to work rou­tines. Young drivers need to be fa­cil­i­tated get their full li­cence to sup­port their mo­bil­ity. With high rents many young peo­ple are now com­mut­ing long dis­tances to col­lege or work – and they need to be able to drive in­de­pen­dently,’ said Se­na­tor Boy­han.

The lat­est fig­ures also show that there are 98 testers na­tion­wide – and that ten have re­tired so far this year with two more to re­tire by year end. Mean­while, only four new testers have been re­cruited since June.

‘I am call­ing on Min­is­ter Ross to ur­gently sanc­tion recruitment of more driv­ing testers across the coun­try. Young peo­ple and new drivers need to be able to at­tain their full li­cence more speed­ily,’ said Mr Boy­han.

Since July 1, drivers who hold a pro­vi­sional li­cence may drive only when ac­com­pa­nied by a driver who has held a full li­cence for more than two years or face a fine of €1,000. Be­fore this date, drivers on a sec­ond pro­vi­sional li­cence were al­lowed to drive un­ac­com­pa­nied.

Also of con­cern to Se­na­tor Boy­han was ma­jor dif­fer­ences in pass rates in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try. The vast ma­jor­ity of ap­pli­cants are pass­ing tests in some cen­tres, while the ma­jor­ity were fail­ing in oth­ers.

In 2017, the av­er­age pass rate at RSA test cen­tres na­tion­ally was 52.90 per cent. The high­est pass rates were in New­cas­tle West (71.5 per cent), Kil­rush (67.41 per cent), Sligo (65.86 per cent) and Roscom­mon (64.82 per cent).

The low­est pass rates were ex­pe­ri­enced in Ra­heny (44.01 per cent), Church­town (44.44 per cent), Kilkenny (45.65 per cent) and Fin­glas (46.12 per cent).

Wick­low’s pass rate in 2017 was at the lower end of the spec­trum and stood at 49.18 per cent.

Se­na­tor Boy­han also com­pared the pass rates of all Ire­land’s RSA test cen­tres over a weekly pe­riod end­ing on Au­gust 18.

A to­tal of 57 tests were due to be car­ried out that week in Wick­low. Twenty-two passed and 26 failed, while there were 8 no shows and one test could not be com­pleted due to an is­sue with the ve­hi­cle or doc­u­men­ta­tion.

In com­par­i­son, of the 42 tests of­fered in Wex­ford that week, 23 passed and only 16 failed, while there were two no shows and one test not com­pleted.

Mean­while in Done­gal al­most 80 per cent of ap­pli­cants passed, while in Gorey 42 peo­ple failed the test, while just 20 passed, giv­ing an al­most 70 per cent fail­ure rate.

‘The Min­is­ter and RSA need to look to im­prove the high fail­ure rate and how come this varies so much from one test cen­tre to an­other. The high fail­ure rate con­trib­utes sig­nif­i­cantly to the back­log,’ said Se­na­tor Boy­han.

The se­na­tor’s com­ments also come af­ter Min­is­ter Ross re­cently stated that he planned a ma­jor crack­down on peo­ple re­peat­edly re­new­ing learner per­mits and not tak­ing the test for a full li­cence.

‘If the Min­is­ter is se­ri­ous about tack­ling this is­sue and also en­abling peo­ple on a first learner’s per­mit to progress read­ily to a full li­cence – he needs to im­me­di­ately sanc­tion more testers and re­sources. The Min­is­ter and the RSA need to act on what can be done to de­liver a more con­sis­tent and higher pass rate in all cen­tres across the coun­try’.

THE MIN­IS­TER AND THE RSA NEED TO LOOK TO IM­PROVE THE HIGH FAIL­URE RATE AND HOW COME THIS VARIES SO MUCH IN DIF­FER­ENT CEN­TRES.

There is cur­rently a 13.6 week wait for an ap­point­ment at Wick­low’s driv­ing test cen­tre in Wick­low town.

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