Calls made to facilitate essential workers needing to sit driving tests

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and Minister for Transport have been called on by Sinn Féin to amend rules which are preventing essential workers sitting their driving tests.

Making the calls, Sinn Féin spokesperson on transport Darren O’Rourke said:

“As it stands, learner drivers, who are essential workers, cannot complete their mandatory EDT [essential driver training] lessons if they do not have a driving test booked – but they cannot book a driving test without completing the 12 mandatory EDT lessons.

It is a catch-22 that is causing serious issues for essential workers who need to sit their driving test to get to and from work.

The Meath TD highlighted that the current set-up means that only learner drivers who have completed all their lessons, prior to Level 5, can now sit a driving test.

“In terms of lessons, only those with all their lessons already complete, qualify for one pre-test lesson,” he added.

“Obviously we need to ensure driving testers and approved driving instructors are protected during the ongoing pandemic, but we also need to ensure essential workers can get to work.”

Deputy O’Rourke stressed that driving is an “absolute essential” for people but this rule is preventing thousands of people obtaining their license.

Figures we have received show 92,210 people are now waiting to sit a driving test. This rule is only adding to the backlog.

“Minister [for Transport Eamon] Ryan needs to work with ADIs [approved driving instructors], their unions and the RSA to get this problem resolved.

“In addition, the driver theory test is still suspended, causing further delays for those learning to drive.

“Sinn Féin has also called for online driver theory tests to be extended to all categories of learner drivers, to help deal with the growing backlog of those learning to drive,” he said.

Noting that this solution is already being used for other categories, the TD said:

The Driver Theory Test Service is currently providing remote theory tests for bus, truck, CPC and ADI categories.

“This is a welcome development, but it is essential this is now expanded to those learning to drive a car.”