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31,000 people waiting for a driving test in Dublin

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Learner drivers applying for their test for the first time are being forced to wait an average of around four and a half months for a test.

According to the Road Safety Authority (RSA), as at the end of January 2024, there were 24,393 people in Dublin waiting for an invitation to book their test, and a further 6,759 learners with a scheduled test date.

At a national level, the RSA said that there were roughly 86,000 people in the country at the end of January waiting to book or take a driving test.

They said in a statement that the driving test service has experienced “unprecedented demand” over the past two years, with the number of applications for a driving test in 2022 up by 28pc compared to the record in 2021.

They added that the demand for the service continued to see “increased application volumes throughout 2023”.

The factors cited as contributing to this backlog were an increase in learner permits in circulation, which the RSA estimates have grown by approximately 30pc since 2019.

Other factors included an increase in advanced driving instructors’ capacity to deliver lessons to learner drivers following the pandemic, subsequently increasing the volume of learners becoming eligible for a driving test.

Coupled with an increased capacity in the driver theory test centres as the service resumed post Covid-19.

According to the Central Statistics Office, over 100,000 drivers in Dublin are currently on learner permits.

As of November last year, Tallaght was the busiest test centre with upwards of 8,000 people waiting for a driving test to be scheduled.

Dún Laoghaire/Deansgrange came in a close second with over 5,000 people waiting for tests; Finglas (4,847); Mulhuddart (2,706); Raheny (2,185); Killester (1,640); Mulhuddart Maple House (931); and Charlestown (749).

Where a person has recently failed a test, they are usually invited six to eight weeks after their failed test, although this can be longer in some centres with higher demand.

The RSA added that while there is some disparity between different test centres, there are a number of factors that influence wait times.

They added that the driver testing service is “working towards reducing those disparities” and balancing nationwide wait times as much as possible.

It was reported last week that more than 1,700 learner drivers in Dublin were fined for driving unaccompanied in the first six months of last year.

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