By Cathy Lee

Dublin South West Sinn Fein TD Seán Crowe has described the time people are waiting for driving tests as “unfortunate”, as recent figures revealed that the Tallaght test centre now has the highest amount of awaiting applicants, with over 2,500 people waiting for a test.

Mr Crowe is calling for action to tackle the issue of lengthy local driving test wait times, particularly felt in Tallaght and Churchtown Driving Test Centres. Mr Crowe said that “the main culprit behind these long delays is the lack of testers”, adding that he sees the solution in the hiring of more testers to meet demand, as his party see these figures as highlighting “the unacceptable reality”.

One Tallaght resident, due to take her test at the end of the month, originally booked a test in July 2018 and has had a number of scheduled tests cancelled over the last couple of months. She told Newsgroup that she intends to complain to the RSA about her ordeal after she takes her test. In Churchtown test centre, over 1,800 people are currently waiting to be scheduled for a test date and applicants wait an average of 14 weeks.

Although the Road Safety Authority (RSA) aims to have the national average waiting time to be no more than 10 weeks, over half of the test centres do not meet the target. Mr Crowe said that “The current recruitment process has been painfully slow and is simply not delivering enough testers”, adding that recent legislation aimed particularly at learner drivers which imposes new restrictions and penalties has “undoubtedly prompted an increase in those seeking to obtain a full licence”.

The pass rate at Tallaght Driving Test Centre is just under 50%, while the pass rate in Churchtown Driving Test Centre is just over 44%. According to the RSA, it “can usually facilitate” those who need to take a test urgently, once the applicant makes the desire known for a short notice cancellation clear on their application, having completed the mandatory 12 EDT lessons. Speaking to Newsgroup, a Dublin driving instructor advised not to forget about an application once it’s put through. He said not to “just leave the application sit there”, rather “always follow up” with an email or phone call and push for it as much as possible.