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COVID restrictions and lack of driving testers; tens of thousands are waiting for driving test

DUBLIN: About 64,000 people are waiting for the driving test. Last year it was six weeks to wait for the test but now it is 25 weeks. The increase in the number of applicants is due to the fact that the driving test is currently conducted only for essential workers due to COVID safety reasons. Due to the shortage of driving testers and COVID restrictions, applicants will have to wait.

Of the applicants, 7,737 were listed as essential workers. A total of 56,730 people are waiting for the driving test. 28,357 have applied for the test and will be eligible to take the test after completing the Essential Driving Training.

Meanwhile, the Road Safety Authority has demanded that driving testers be given priority in the COVID-19 vaccination. The Authority has 140 testers. They carry out six tests every day, compared to eight before the pandemic. By the end of June 2021, 40 new driving testers are expected to arrive.

Brian Farrell, RSA Communications Manager, said the authority was of the view that only essential workers could take the driving test because of the current Level 5 restrictions. Over the past few weeks, the RSA has excluded many people from driving tests for this reason. If you apply for the test now, you will have to wait up to 25 weeks. The current tests are based on where the essential workers live in the country. He said the current six-month delay could not be resolved until next year.

“The pandemic has had a major impact on the delivery of the driving test service we are looking well into next year before we start to tackle this backlog. If you are not an essential worker you should not be attending for your driving test. For the safety of our testers, only those workers who are essential workers should come forward,” Mr. Farrell said.

Labour leader Alan Kelly said: “I have had so many people on to me asking why they can’t get tests. The numbers are extraordinary. The waiting times are extraordinary. I understand that we are in a pandemic. I understand that the RSA is looking at just essential workers.”

“We need to see the RSA hire more instructors to deal with this backlog later on in this year when they are in a better position to deal with this,” he added. The RSA released the figures of those waiting for a driving test in response to Kelly’s parliamentary question.

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