Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described statistics confirming the number of people waiting to be scheduled for a Driving Test as deeply alarming and a further indication of the disarray that is afflicting the learner driver system. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the RSA confirmed to him in a parliamentary reply that nationally, a total of 44,746 applicants are waiting to be scheduled for a test:
“These figures go to the heart of what I and others have been saying for some time now; that there is a chronic backlog afflicting this sector which in turn is creating serious knock-on consequences.
What is deeply alarming to me is that this number of almost 45 thousand does not include those who have already been scheduled for an upcoming test. The 45 thousand figure merely reflects those waiting to be given a testing date.
The RSA informs me that in part this is due to the number of Driver Tester retirements in the last 12 months, but it does not specify how many Testers have opted out of the system or why.
They have also told me that they have taken on 23 new Testers since 2016, but that only six of those will have commenced operating by this year. That is simply not good enough given the scale of the challenge.
In my county of Tipperary there are 1700 people waiting to be scheduled a driving test. This demonstrates the enormity of the problem at the local level.
What we are seeing here is that people simply cannot get a test within a reasonable period of time.
They cannot even get a date for a test. This is clearly creating massive levels of frustration and uncertainty throughout the both county and the country and it must be addressed with all the urgency that it demands,” concluded Deputy McGrath.