Fines for repeat offenders should be considered to address the backlog of driving tests before they resume for the general public after Level 5, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Currently, one in ten of those who schedule driving tests do not show up for the appointment.
Fine Gael TD for Dublin Rathdown, Neale Richmond, said: “The issue of waiting lists for driving tests has been ongoing for some time now, to the deep frustration of learner drivers, driving teachers and the Road Safety Authority alike.
“Due the first round of Covid-19 restrictions last Spring, 14,752 driving tests were cancelled throughout the country.
“At level 5, driving tests can go ahead for essential workers involved in essential services or essential retail outlets, but the vast majority of people must cancel their appointment.
“When driving tests resume after these restrictions, we will once again be faced with a huge backlog of appointments.
“Prior to March, applicants could expect to wait six weeks for a test, however, in October this wait was a staggering eight months.
“The suspension of the majority of driving tests in Level 5 will only exacerbate this problem.
“As confirmed to me through a Parliamentary Question to the Minister to Transport this week, recruitment has begun for 40 temporary driver testers, in addition to 36 temporary testers who were previously hired in 2020.
“The RSA are also looking into increasing the number of tests a driver tester can conduct a day in order to clear the backlog.
“Further statistics supplied from the RSA show that in 2019, 24,660 people did not show up for their scheduled driving test, leading to a no-show rate of 11.1%.
“The first weeks of 2020 saw a similar rate of 10.7% prior to the first round of Covid-19 restrictions.
“While the hiring of additional testers is welcome, if we are to clear the backlog of driving tests, this no-show rate must be addressed.
“A public information campaign on the importance of showing up for your scheduled driving test, or a fine for repeat offenders should be considered by the Minister for Transport to tackle this issue.
“Action must be taken to ensure this backlog is addressed and cleared as soon as driving tests are permitted to resume for all drivers.
“Reducing the no show rate for tests is a cost effective and simple way to clear the backlog.”