28,646 people still waiting on a date for their driving test
Almost 30,000 people are on the waiting list.
Sinn Féin’s Transport Spokesperson Imelda Munster TD has issued a statement highlighting how long Irish learner drivers need to wait to do their driving test.
At various times in the past year, the figure has been reported as anywhere between 28,646 and 83,000.
In a statement issued to JOE, the Louth TD revealed that Tipperary has the longest maximum waiting time of roughly seven months (29 weeks). Other test centres with wait times as long as six month include Churchtown, Mallow, Skibereen, Sligo, Tralee and Wicklow.
“My real concern is that there are 28,646 people still awaiting a test date, which means that there are tens of thousands of people waiting even longer than the wait time data from the RSA suggests.
Munster chalks up the delays to a lack of testers.
“A significant number of testers have retired in recent years. This is foreseeable, and I do not accept that new testers could not have been recruited to ensure that these retirements did not affect the service.
“The recruitment process has been slow and is simply not enough. The Minister needs to support the RSA in recruiting significant numbers of new testers to cope with demand."
Munster also pointed out that the delays pose a real danger to younger or learner drivers under new laws that allow cars to to be seized if a learner driver is driving unaccompanied.
“Recently introduced legislation which has imposed new penalties on those allowing their cars to be used by unaccompanied learner drivers has presumably led to an increase in those seeking to obtain a full licence. I flagged this with the Minister ahead of the introduction of that legislation, but the response has been completely inadequate."
The Road Safety Authority "aims to have a national average waiting time for a driving test of no longer than 10 weeks," according to their website.
However, RSA data shows that many centres post average waiting times well above this goal. Munster contends that RSA data does not include the 28,000 people who have not yet been issued a date.