Motorists wait over 13 weeks for driving test
SENATOR VICTOR BOYAN IS CALLING ON MINISTER SHANE ROSS TO REDUCE WAITING TIMES FOR TESTS
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.