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Applicants may need to purchase a new computer to pass the new online driver theory test!

DUBLIN: The Road Safety Authority has been criticized for introducing a new online driver theory test, which may require some users to purchase a new computer.

People have been frustrated by the Authority’s decision to limit online test to only Windows computers. The new Windows computer costs around €350. Low-income families rely on smartphones and tablets for essential computing needs.

The ‘ProProctor’ software chosen by the RSA for its online driver theory test is designed to run only on older-style, traditional computers.

Only a quarter of Irish households use Windows system. As a result, a significant number of applicants may be required to purchase a computer in order to pass their driving test. There is also a requirement that those taking the test use Google Chrome.

“You must use a Windows (8 or above) laptop or desktop computer,” the RSA warns about its new online theory test. “You cannot use your phone, tablet, Mac or Windows 7,” RSA said.

The latest figures from Statcounter show that only 24% of Irish population use Windows computers. Tablets, large-screen smartphones, Mac computers, and Chromebooks are used by three-quarters of Internet users.

While acknowledging that the platform has limitations, an RSA spokesperson stated that an upgraded version will be introduced in October and that customer hurdles will be removed.

“The current online offering is only an interim solution to help meet some of the demand from customers looking for a theory test appointment. It is a temporary solution and we plan to roll out an upgraded online offering later in the year which will significantly increase its capacity,” he said.

The new system is being introduced as a pilot project aimed at professional drivers, bus and truck drivers. The spokesman said the scheme would be expanded for car users in ‘category B’.

He said the updated system for car theory tests will be available on multiple platforms, including Windows and Apple Mac computers. He added that the system will not support common platforms such as iPods, tablets, smartphones and Chromebooks.

“The physical centres remain closed under public health advice to minimise the impact of Covid-19. When the physical centres are allowed to reopen we will be able to add additional capacity and ramp up our service to deliver 50,000 tests per month, from a pre-Covid level of 15,000,” the spokesperson said.

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