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Doherty welcomes measures to reduce backlog for driving test

11 May, 2005

Donegal Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse Doherty has welcomed reports that the Government has agreed a package of measures designed to reduce the backlog of learner drivers waiting for full licences.

Cllr. Doherty said:

"The reports that Transport Minister, Martin Cullen is planning to hire a private company to run the driving tests at centres throughout the country along with existing State testers is something that is long over due. I have time and time again demanded that the Minister for Transport, address the unacceptable backlog of people waiting to take their driving tests. What makes this situation worse is that the Minister Cullen's predeccessor was aware of this crisis as far back as February 2003, when he said that there was no need for alarm, even though the average wait to take the test was between 25-28 weeks. Today the average wait for the driving test is now approximately 40 weeks, with a 44 week wait for the Letterkenny centre.

"The most obvious effect of this delay is that drivers holding a provisional licence are paying higher insurance premiums while they wait for their tests. These delays are disproportionately affecting young people who have great difficulty paying the extra insurance premiums.

"I am glad that the minister has listened to my calls and is finally going to take action. There is no doubt that both he and his predecessor has added to this backlog by not lifting the embargo on the recruitment of driving testers in order to fill a number of vacancies that exist at the moment. They have presided over a situation where there is only one driving testers for every 1,000 applicants. Minister Cullen must move fast now and implement the substance of these reports. ENDS

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