Driving test backlog: More than 6,300 learner drivers waiting for test in Cork

Driving Test Backlog: More Than 6,300 Learner Drivers Waiting For Test In Cork
The backlog means learner drivers are being left in limbo until 2024 before they can receive an invitation to book their test
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Urgent calls have been made to tackle the driving test backlog after it was revealed more than 6,300 learner drivers are waiting to sit their test in Cork.

Road Safety Authority figures also show the average wait for a driving test in Sarsfield Road, Wilton is 38 weeks, while it is around 12 weeks in Ballincollig.


There are more than 2,000 confirmed bookings for Cork theory test centres until the end of September.

Sinn Féin's Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire called on the Minister for Transport to tackle the backlog, and said public transport is not always an option for people waiting to sit their test.

"This isn't a trivial thing for people," he told Newstalk radio. "[The driving test] facilitates people's independence and facilitates people getting out to work. And for some people, particularly in rural areas, public transport is unfortunately not an option.

"So people need their car and people need access to a driving test and to be able to pass it within a reasonable timeframe – the backlog is simply not acceptable."


The backlog means learner drivers are being left in limbo until 2024 before they can receive an invitation to book their test.

The delay is being blamed on the time it takes for the Road Safety Authority to hire new driving testers after it requested the Department of Transport to sanction further recruitment in March.

'Unprecedented demand'

Last month the Minister of State for Transport, Jack Chambers, confirmed that it would be autumn before progress is made on reducing the driving tests backlog.

In response to a Dáil question, Mr Chambers said his officials are working closely with the Road Safety Authority on fixing the issues which are “of great concern across the State”.


“The service has been under significant pressure to meet unprecedented demand, which is up 28 per cent on 2021 figures,” he said. After an RSA request in March, the department gave approval for the recruitment of 75 additional testers.

“This is in addition to the 30 testers who were previously sanctioned in July 2022 and which have been fully deployed since the end of March 2023,” he said. “This brings the total number of sanctioned driver tester posts to just over 200.”

However, it will take some time for these additional driving testers to be recruited, trained and deployed. “The backlog for driver testing services will start to reduce from October 2023 and agreed service levels should resume by early to mid-2024,” he said.

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