LATEST figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) show that there are 692 people waiting for an appointment to sit their driving test at the Skibbereen driving test centre.
The figures also reveal that 373 applicants are not eligible because in some cases they do not have the mandatory lessons completed, while 52 applicants are scheduled for an appointment.
These long delays have led Cork North West Fianna Fáil TD Aindrias Moynihan to call on the Minister for Transport to review capacity and resourcing to cut through the backlog of outstanding driving tests that can be still safely carried out during the Level 5 restrictions.
‘There is capacity and resourcing within the service to safely do testing for motorcyclists and even bus drivers, due to the ability to maintain acceptable social distancing in these cases,’ said Deputy Moynihan.
‘This could ensure that when restrictions are lifted later this year that at least that cohort of people will have been dealt with and the service can then tackle the motor vehicle drivers and other licence classes that have been unable to get tested.’
Deputy Moynihan added that the RSA has stated that it is not possible for them to provide waiting times for the test because the service is not operating as normal.
‘However, they added that as tests are only available to essential workers right now they have surplus capacity and can offer test slots to essential workers on demand. So there is capacity there to work with right now.
‘But we need to know what plans are in place to address the issue of long wait times for driving test dates due to the Covid pandemic. We also need to know what plans are in place to address the issues of driving lessons not continuing during the current pandemic.’
Deputy Moynihan said that between Cork city, Skibbereen and Mallow there are 6,022 people waiting for a test.
‘The RSA has said they would need 80 extra testers to get this wait time down to 10 weeks by next March. It has gotten to the stage where an actual estimated wait time cannot be given to people seeking a test and the wait time can be up to six months in many cases.’