Sinn Féin’s Deputy Johnny Mythen has called for Minister Eamon Ryan to take decisive action to tackle the massive driving test backlog.
Deputy Mythen’s comments come as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) confirmed to Sinn Féin that there are now 1,365 eligible learner drivers waiting for a test in Wexford, and over 90,000 people waiting across the state.
The Wexford TD said;
“The RSA has confirmed that there are now 93,791 people waiting for a driving test, with some constituents telling me they will be forced to wait well into 2021 for a test date.
This issue has been deteriorating all year. Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has failed to take decisive action to tackle the growing backlog.
In fact, the number of people waiting for a test has increased by 70% since June of this year.
With public transport down to 25% capacity and sharing of lifts now not feasible due to Covid-19, this is causing massive problems for people who need a licence to get to work.
I raised this issue through a Parliamentary Question in September, where the Minister stated that the Road Safety Authority had submitted proposals to deal with the backlog to the Department.
It’s a huge issue for people in rural Ireland, where public transport simply isn’t an option, so it’s vitally important for the Department to get on top of this quickly.
In addition, the driver theory test has been suspended until early December, causing further delays for those needing to learn to drive.
There is a clear need for additional driving instructors and testers. Likewise, longer opening hours and weekend tests would go some way to address the lengthening backlog.
The Minister needs to urgently consult with instructors, testers and their unions to find a way forward to accelerate the number of tests that can be carried out safely over the coming months.”