RSA must provide roadmap to address learner driver backlogs - Darren O’Rourke TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has said the Road Safety Authority must provide clarity for the thousands of people waiting to sit their driving and theory tests.
His comments come as the RSA are scheduled to appear at the Oireachtas Transport Committee tomorrow morning.
Speaking today, the Meath East TD said:
“It is timely that the RSA are to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee, as there is a list of issues under their remit which requires urgent attention.
“Almost 100,000 people are now waiting to sit a driving test, while 80,000 more are waiting to sit the Driver Theory Test.
“While driving tests for everyone but essential workers are currently suspended, even some essential workers are now facing barriers getting their licence which they need to get to work.
“As it stands, these essential workers cannot complete their mandatory EDT lessons if they do not have a driving test booked, but they cannot book a driving test without completing the 12 mandatory EDT lessons.
“It is vital driving instructors and driving testers are provided with the necessary high-grade PPE to allow driving tests for essential workers continue under Level 5, and preparation must now be made to deal with the massive backlog when restrictions are reduced.
“We will need extra instructors, testers and longer operating hours to get through the backlog quickly.
“A driving licence is essential, and people cannot be expected to wait months and months for an opportunity to get one.
“Last year Sinn Féin called for the Driver Theory Test to be put online, but this was not acted on and now 79,276 people are now waiting to sit their Driver Theory Test.
“The Driver Theory Test Service are currently providing remote theory tests for bus, truck, CPC and ADI categories. This is a welcome development, but it is essential this is now extended to those learning to drive a car.
“Other examinations such as university exams, are now taking place online securely, so there is no reason the 45-minute driver theory test cannot be sat virtually and securely too.
“In addition, Approved Driving Instructors are still locked out of driving test centres, unable to access toilet facilities, shelter, warmth or sanitisation facilities while at work.
“We raised this with the Minister repeatedly and with the RSA chairperson when she appeared at the Oireachtas Transport Committee in December, but nothing has been done to address this.
“I will be raising these issues with the RSA tomorrow morning and will be expecting a clear roadmap on how they will deal with these challenges.”