Kieran O’Donnell TD
Thursday April 1, 2021
Oireachtas Transport Committee writes to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan & the RSA with Recommendations to reduce Stark 100,000 Backlog of Driving Tests – O’Donnell
- Full Driving licence could reduce motor insurance for Young Drivers by between 30% to 80%
The Joint Committee on Transport and Communications Networks has written to Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Transport and the RSA, with recommendations to reduce the stark 100,000 backlog for driving test, Limerick Fine Gael TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Transport & Communications committee, Kieran O’Donnell has said.
The letter outlines the Committee’s 6 recommendations following its engagements on the impact of Covid-19 on driving testing and driving instructors. The recently completed hearings examined the impact of Covid-19 on driving testing and approved driving instructors (ADIs).
There are currently nearly 100,000 waiting to sit their driving tests, with 99,636 persons. This number includes 5,262 who have been scheduled for an appointment, 61,635 were waiting for an appointment, and 32,739 who are currently ineligible for a test, mostly due to not having completed the mandatory 12 hours EDT. This is in addition to the approximately 80,000 waiting on a driving theory test.
The letter follows the Committee’s hearings with the RSA and the approved driving instructor branch of the Unite Trade Union on March 2 and March 18 respectively.
Committee Chair, Kieran O’Donnell TD said: “The committee is conscious of the impact this stark 100,000 driving test backlog is especially having on young drivers. It is estimated that going from a provisional to a full driving licence can reduce motor insurance premiums by anything between 30% to 80%. The Committee has considered the key issues and has agreed conclusions and recommendations, public health guidelines permitting. In order to address these growing backlogs for driving tests, the Committee recommends 6 very practical solutions be considered and implemented.”
The recommendations include:
- Essential workers currently have access to driving tests but cannot complete the mandatory EDT(Essential Driver Training) required to sit the test, even if they only have a few lessons remaining. The Committee believes that this is a significant oversight, and recommends that essential workers be allowed to complete EDT lessons in a safe way with approved driving instructors (ADIs)
- Where there is spare testing centre capacity, non-essential workers who have completed their mandatory EDT hours should be allowed to sit their driving test
- Minister and his Department approve the current request and submission from the RSA to recruit a total additional 80 driver testers; an additional 40 on top of the 40 already approved and being recruited to bring the total compliment to 218. The RSA have confirmed to the committee that they need 218 driver testers to reduce the driving testing waiting times to 10 weeks by February 2022.
- RSA and Department would look at the possibility of increasing the number of tests a driver tester can perform each day
- RSA expedites the planned rollout of online driver theory test to cover all testing categories and fast-tracked driving testing should be given to individuals who have been offered a place on a study course that requires that they have a driving licence
- ADIs estimate that between those who have a provisional licence and are waiting for a test, and those who are waiting to take their driver theory test, up to one million EDT lessons may be required once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. It is important that ADIs are supported by the Department of Transport and the RSA in whatever way necessary to service this additional demand. Furthermore, we would ask that ADIs are supported to ensure they can operate and come through this pandemic.
“It is crucial that the Minister for Transport and his Department now take urgent action on these recommendations to ensure these very large backlogs can be addressed as swiftly as possible for drivers. This must immediately deal with essential workers who need to complete their EDT lessons, extending to other drivers who have already completed them and expediating on-line driver theory testing.
“Furthermore, it must involve ensuring sufficient driver tester numbers and resources are in place to comprehensively tackle the backlog when full RSA services resume, with a target of bringing the waiting times down to at least 10 weeks.