RSA asks non-essential workers to cancel driving tests as 65,000 people await appointments

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Ryan O'Rourke

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has asked non-essential workers to cancel driving tests scheduled for the coming weeks to help tackle the backlog of those waiting for tests.

The request comes as it emerged there are more than 65,000 people awaiting tests, a backlog of 25-30 weeks.

That figure was provided to Labour TD, Seán Sherlock, who has urged the Department of Transport to implement a "10-week turnaround plan" to ease pressure on the system.

Under Level 5 of the Government's Covid-19 restrictions, candidates can attend driving tests "provided they are an essential worker involved in the provision of essential services or essential retail outlets”.

However, the RSA has no way of knowing who is an essential worker and they will not cancel scheduled tests.

“We would ask that if a candidate is not someone involved in the provision of essential services or essential retail outlets, that they please cancel their appointment using the web form provided on the RSA website," a spokesperson for the RSA said.

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This cancelled slot can then be given to someone who does fall under this category.

They confirmed a capacity plan to restore waiting times to ten weeks by "the end of 2021" has been prepared and issued to the department. They are also rehiring testers and adding test slots on Saturdays to help reduce wait-times.

Mr Sherlock said it is essential to ease the waiting list.

“Over 65,000 drivers are awaiting a test now, yet they have simply no idea when they will be able to get one," said Mr Sherlock. "We have seen figures awaiting tests fluctuate from 43,900 to as high as 85,000.

"The latest figures come with a caveat that there is now a plan to mitigate waiting times in the Department of Transport awaiting approval.

"The Government must act on this now to give certainty and clarity to drivers awaiting a test,” he said.

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