Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the time people are waiting time for driving tests as completely unacceptable. The Tallaght test centre now has the highest amount of applicants in the State waiting for their driving test to be scheduled, with over 2,500 people waiting for a test.
The Sinn Féin TD is calling for the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to ‘get his act together’ and support the Road Safety Authority (RSA) in recruiting more testers to cope with the growing demand.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The RSA’s aim is to have a national average waiting time for a driving test of no longer than 10 weeks. The figures obtained this week by my party, Sinn Féin, highlights the unacceptable reality that the target is not being met in up to half of the State’s driving test centres.
“Applicants from Dublin South West can be waiting for up 14 weeks for a test at the Tallaght test centre.
“Unfortunately the Tallaght test centre also has the highest amount of applicants in the State waiting for their driving test to be scheduled, with over 2,500 people waiting for a test.
“The next nearest option for applicants in the Churchtown test centre, but applicants there have to wait an average of 14 weeks, with the longest waiting time a whopping 26 weeks for their driving test. Over 1,800 people are currently waiting to be scheduled for a test date there.
“The main culprit behind these long delays is the lack of testers to deal with what is clearly a growing demand for full driving licences.
“We know that a significant number of testers have retired in recent years and this is one of the weak excuses trotted out by the Government in response to the lengthening scheduling times.
“All these retirements were signalled and foreseeable, so new testers should have been recruited to ensure that these retirements did not impact on the service. The current recruitment process has been painfully slow and is simply not delivering enough testers.”
“Clearly Minister Ross needs to start doing his job and support the RSA in recruiting significant numbers of new testers to cope with this obvious demand.
“Recently introduced legislation by Minister Ross imposed new restrictions and penalties on anyone allowing their cars to be used by an unaccompanied learner driver. This has undoubtedly prompted an increase in those seeking to obtain a full licence.
“Another factor is that many people seeking jobs need to drive as public transport is not always an option in getting to where the employment is located.
“Sinn Féin flagged this driving test debacle with the Minister ahead of his introduction of his legislation, but his response has been slow, inadequate, and lacking any urgency.
“Clearly Minister Ross needs to get his act together, start doing his job, and end the long delays facing applicants for driving tests in places like Tallaght and Churchtown, and across the State.”