Learner drivers facing 14-week wait to take test

LEARNER drivers in Donegal are facing a 14-week waiting time to take their driving test as unprecedented demand brings huge backlogs.

The pressure locally and nationally has slowed the process for learner drivers to take their driving test.

There was a glimmer of hope this week when Minister for Transport, Mr Eamon Ryan T.D. and Minister of State with responsibility for road safety, Mr Jack Chambers T.D., announced approval for 75 additional driver testers to be hired by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) in October to tackle the backlog.


This will bring the potential number of testers to over 200, but whether any of these new testers will be based in Donegal has not yet been decided.

Figures provided to the Donegal News by the RSA reveal the scale of the backlog at test centres in the county.

A total of 440 applicants have a schedule test appointment date.

There are 1,334 applicants who are eligible to sit their test and who will be invited once there are test slots available, or who already have an open invitation to book themselves a test slot.

Meanwhile, some 1,132 applicants have been issued with an invitation to book a test but have not used it within 10 days.

Six hundred applicants have their learner permit less than six months or have not completed all mandatory Essential Driver Training (EDT).

Demand for driving tests is now at exceptional levels.


Applications in 2022 were 28 per cent higher than 2021 levels and 27 per cent up on 2018 pre Covid-19 pandemic levels.

The current demand for driving tests has a number of contributory factors, including: an increase in application volumes, with more learners applying for and becoming eligible to take their driving test since the start of 2022; increased capacity and take up of the Driver Theory Test; and an increase in Advanced Driving Instructors’ and their capacity to deliver lessons to learner drivers.

A spokesperson for Road Safety Authority said: “The RSA has received sanction to hire up to 75 additional driver testers to address the backlog that has arisen due to unprecedented demand in the driver testing service.

“It is expected that new testers will be trained and ready to work from October this year. Where these testers will be based has not been decided.”

Minister Ryan warned that it is “important to recognise that there are no quick fixes or easy resolutions” but pledged that his Department will “continue to keep the situation under review”.

Minister Chambers said that by increasing the number of driver testers, the RSA “can proivide the testing service they are committed to delivering and a quality service each customer deserves”.

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