Waiting times for driving tests remain high.
Learner drivers looking in Carrick-on-Shannon are waiting 13.4 weeks to sit their test according to figures released to Deputy Eugene Murphy.
The Fianna Fáil TD has highlighted variations in driving test waiting times around the country noting that people in Roscommon and Athlone are subjected to some of the longest waiting times.
Figures from the Road Safety Authority were recently provided to Deputy Murphy on foot of parliamentary question. The figures provides the data relating to driving test waiting periods as of August 2017.
“Figures from the Road Safety Authority indicate that people in Athlone have one of the longest waiting times in the country as they are typically waiting 17 weeks or over four months to sit their driving test and 1,892 people in Co Westmeath have not been scheduled for a test yet," noted Deputy Murphy.
"The waiting time for a driving test in Roscommon is 16.8 weeks and over 700 people have not been scheduled for a test while there are over 3,000 people in Co Galway who have not been scheduled for a driving test yet.
“The figures in Longford are also quite high at 15 weeks with over 500 people still not scheduled for a test while in Carrick-on-Shannon in Co Leitrim people are waiting 13.4 weeks to sit their driving test with 469 people still waiting to be scheduled for a test. In County Mayo over 1,500 people have still not been scheduled for a test with waiting times in Ballina at 10. 6 weeks and 14.7 in Castlebar.
“These type of long waiting periods are simply unacceptable as many people are left in limbo land for up to four months with a total of 61,144 people nationally still not scheduled for a test. Many of these people may be waiting for a full licence for employment purposes or a job application may be hinging on them having a full licence while other drivers are paying exorbitant levels of car insurance for provisional licences and they are being left waiting long periods to sit their driving test."
Deputy Murphy added that the Minister for Transport (through the Road Safety Authority) had confirmed there are currently 99.44 full time equivalent driver testers employed by the RSA and it is planned to take on a further 11 driver testers during the next year.
"I am calling on the Minister for Transport to expedite the appointment of these additional driver testers and to increase the number as 11 extra nationally is simply not enough to tackle this issue and clear the back logs,” concluded Deputy Murphy.