According to TD Eugene Murphy, over 40,000 people are waiting to sit their driving test. 42,880 have been waiting for as long as seven months due to a backlog.
Shane Ross, the Minister for Transport and Sport, released the figures for the waiting list after pressure from Murphy. According to a breakdown of the figures released by the Road Safety Authority:
- 1,693 people are waiting in Galway with residents of the Tuam area waiting 16 weeks to sit the test
- 1,057 drivers are waiting in Westmeath
- 431 of those waiting are in Athlone with 18-week delays to sit the test
- Roscommon has an 18-week waiting list with up to 400 people on the list.
- 424 drivers are waiting in Leitrim
- Longford has a backlog of over 250 learner drivers
- 441 learners are waiting in Sligo
The waiting list jeopardises potential employment for a number of people on the waiting list, according to Murphy:
These type of waiting lists and waiting periods are simply unacceptable as many people are left in limbo land for up to four months and longer in some cases. 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.I accept that the Minister previously indicated that 11 additional driver testers would be taken on throughout the country but 11 extra nationally is simply not enough to tackle this issue and clear the back logs- More driver testers need to be appointed to tackle this issue.
The news comes as young drivers continue to cover the cost of high insurance premiums. Minister of State at the Department of Finance Michael D’Arcy said insurance companies offer young drivers the option of installing a device that can track their driving and reduces the cost of their insurance.
The machines track the speed of the car and reward drivers which stick to the speed limit with lower car insurance rates but young people are not availing of the offer as it tracks your driving abilities.