BY BRIAN MOORE
MOTORISTS in West Cork are faced with a four-month wait to get a date for a driving test, according to the latest figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
The delay is caused by an increase in demand for driving tests and a number of retiring testers across the country.
‘Four months is a long time for someone to wait for a driving test,’ Minister Jim Daly told The Southern Star.
‘This is a national problem and West Cork is not an isolated area. The RSA has already made an effort to tackle the long waiting lists but more needs to be done,’ said Minister Daly.
‘I can confirm that the RSA plans to deploy six new driver testers on top of the 17 deployed in late 2016. However, the RSA needs to give further consideration to increasing the number of driver testers to effectively deal with the waiting lists nationally.’
According to RSA figures, the average waiting time for a driving test in Cork city and county is 15.2 weeks, up to 22 weeks. The average waiting time in Skibbereen now stands at 16.8 weeks.
A spokesperson said: ‘The RSA is undertaking a review of our longer term needs in the driver testing service to ensure sufficient capacity in future. The RSA continues to monitor waiting times closely and is constantly reviewing and adjusting the deployment of driver testers in order to meet demand as much as possible at the centres where the need is greatest. In addition to this, where possible the RSA will prioritise urgent requests and will use cancellations that arise in the test schedule to facilitate urgent requests.’
A related issue that has arisen is the need for those returning from living abroad to resit their driving tests, which Independent Deputy Michael Collins said was a ‘major concern.’
‘While having already passed their driving tests here in Ireland, they are now confronted with the reality that they cannot drive when they return home for good. Some common sense is needed here and more resources need to be allocated to the RSA in order to tackle what is becoming a serious problem for many in rural Ireland.’